The Boys are Back

2010-07-09 14:20
The Boys are Back

What it's about:

Sports writer Joe Warr (Clive Owen) loses his wife to cancer and finds himself in unfamiliar territory having to singlehandedly care for his young son Artie (Nicholas McAnulty). He's used to being the fun, free parent who thinks you should 'just say yes', but life's logistics are getting them down. Harry (George MacKay), his teenaged son from a previous marriage, comes to visit him in Australia and the three of them get to know the good and bad sides of each other all over again.

What we thought:

The Boys Are Back is inspired by a true story, and it's told as one. Don't expect a start, middle and an end. There's lots of back and forth development, and just when you think they're making headway as a family, everything falls to pieces again. Yep, just like in real life and not at all like in the movies.

Clive Owen gives a genuine performance as the rather complex Joe. While you naturally sympathise with him as the widowed single parent, his flirty, naughty side is very apparent. He's charming, witty and mischievous. His faults earlier in life, like leaving his wife and a six-year-old Harry for his second wife Katy, are laid bare and he makes no excuses. The honesty is arresting but totally refreshing.

The uncredited star is undoubtedly the Australian Outback. Joe and Artie live on an estate in Australian wine country with heavenly sunsets, hectares of space and breathtakingly beautiful beaches nearby. The opening scene sees Joe and Artie riding in their Jeep along the beach with the golden horizon as a backdrop. The only odd thing is that Artie is on the bonnet. Joe lets Artie drive the car with him in pouring rain, take massive dives into shallow baths and play on a dangerously high foefie slide. It's quite scary to watch and anticipate the impending injuries, which thankfully are never very serious. Life is completely carefree for these boys.

All the performances are really genuine. Nicholas McAnulty as Artie is so in tune with the emotions he portrays and he delivers his adorable lines with just the perfect nuances.

Joe: You've got them on the wrong feet
Artie: But these are the only feet I've got

Doesn't it just melt your heart?!

The complicated events and chronology make for difficult and sometimes laborious viewing. It's very dramatic and heavily taxing on the heart and tear ducts. But the most beautiful things are known to do that to you.

Lastly, Sigur Ros' subtle, emotive music says so much that isn't written in the script. It weaves in perfectly with the natural performances, the gorgeous scenery and the honest, fresh air. You can almost breathe this film in.

A beautifully woven film about ordinary emotions in heartbreaking times that still manages to give you the warm 'n fuzzies despite its flaws.

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