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The Boys Are Back is a confessional tale of fatherhood. It follows a witty, wisecracking, action-oriented sportswriter who, in the wake of his wife's death, finds himself in a sudden, stultifying state of single parenthood. Joe Warr throws himself into the only child-rearing philosophy he thinks has a shot at bringing joy back into their lives: "just says yes." Raising two boys - a curious six year-old and a rebel teen from a previous marriage -- in a household devoid of feminine influence, and with a lack of rules, life becomes exuberant, instinctual, reckless... and on the constant verge of disaster. The three multi-generational boys of the Warr household, father and sons alike, must each find their own way, however tenuous, to grow up.Written by
Shortly after the publication of 'The Boys are Back' book, source novelist Simon Carr found himself in a surreal conversation with Peter Bennett-Jones, chairman of Tiger Aspect Pictures. Having fallen head over heals for Carr's memoir, Bennett-Jones told him outright that he thought it would make a terrific film. "My pessimism was utterly confounded by Peter's determination to get this project out," admitted Carr. See more »
I don't know whether you've ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting. But catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There is zig-zag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card. And these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always, more or less, an island.
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Written by Deborah Conway, Stephen Phillip, Dorland Bray, Helen Carter (Mushroom Music Publishing)
Performed by Do Re Mi
Courtesy of Virgin Records
Under license from EMI Music Australia See more »
Overall director Scott Hicks has delivered a worthy picture about mourning, adapting and moving on.
At its core The Boys are Back is nothing new; tales of heartache and sorrow, and the plethora of emotions experienced after a loved one passes away, are a staple of the drama genre. It's thanks to novelist Simon Carr and screenwriter Allan Cubitt that Boys manages to feel fresh - albeit with slightly annoying characters, more on that soon – their book and adaptation, respectively, is in the higher echelon of 'mourning' dramas. The two plots – firstly Joe's new found responsibility to Artie then to his other son Harry, both under different circumstances – mould together seamlessly and never does it appear like they went for too much. Even the small subplots, which can so often be unnecessary, are natural and help boost the already exceptional story.
There is an issue though: the major players can be aggravating on occasion. Joe, a supposedly intelligent person, makes some parental decisions which – grieving a lost one or not – come off as just plain stupid and dangerous; mother-in-law Barbara needlessly spits out some manipulative dialogue; young Artie, possibly due to no fault of his own, at times behaves like a spoilt brat; and every now and then Harry is too whiny, even for a teenager. But hey, don't all family members have their faults? Unfortunately some of these are heightened after a life-changing event.
Greig Fraser's astounding cinematography must be given a mention. The rural South Australian setting is nothing short of breathtaking as Fraser's light green and orange palette gives the location warmth and calmness. The SA government would be well served using some of Boys material, the festival state's tourism would skyrocket. Complimenting the visuals is Hal Lindes terrific acoustic score, his music captures the mood perfectly for the opposing upbeat and pensive moments.
Overall director Scott Hicks has delivered a worthy picture about mourning, adapting and moving on. Would have been excellent if it weren't for the characters intermittently grating on your nerves.
3.5 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)
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