Rabid Reviews: About A Boy

Directed by: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Screenplay by: Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Running Time: 101 minutes
Rated: PG-13

Main Characters: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, Natalia Tena

This film was based on the novel of the same name, written by, Nick Hornby. Hornby has also penned such bestsellers as, High Fidelity, and Fever Pitch. Both of which were successfully adapted into motion picture films.

This is the story of Will Freeman (Hugh Grant), a man determined to remain unattached and accountable only for himself. He is self-centered, materialistic, and for all intents and purposes, an extremely shallow human being. After being set up on a date with a single mother, with whom he has a short-lived relationship, she breaks up with him because she has issues with her child’s father. Will likes the idea of not having to be the one to end the relationships, and decides that single mothers are the way to go. He then joins a single parents group, creates a made-up child named Ned, and lands himself a date with single parent Suzie, in the first meeting.

Then we are introduced to Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), a young boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is dealing with being bullied at school because of the eccentricities that make up who he is, topped off with a suicidal mother played by, Toni Collette. Marcus’ mother, Fiona, is not doing well and her friend Suzie (Victoria Smurfit), brings him on the date between her and Will. After the date, Will and Suzie take Marcus home only to find his mother unconscious on the sofa after an overdose. She is rushed to the hospital and Will decides that the whole situation was too much drama for him so he tries to bow out of their lives. Unbeknownst to Will, Marcus has other plans.

Marcus decides that he needs a third person in his life as backup for when things go wrong, and he decides that Will is the perfect person for the job.

This film is a wonderful story of the tragedy that life can hold, and the love and compassion that can be brought out in people. It dealt with some very heavy issues, but the comedy played well alongside it and seemed to give the movie a delightful balance. The Weitz brothers, who also directed American Pie, proved without a shadow of a doubt that they are completely capable of making a movie with substance, while still being able to add their trademark humor.

Grant did a magnificent job portraying Will. He was completely unlikable in the beginning, but when he opened himself to the people around him, his character became very endearing. Much different than the roles he had played before this, the character of Will was much closer to Grant’s own personality. His flare for comedy really came out in this movie. Not only with the excellent delivery of lines, but in the way he was able to portray it through facial expressions and actions. Not having been the greatest fan of Hugh Grant in the past, this movie changed my mind.

Hoult’s job as Marcus was remarkably well done for a beginning actor, a child actor at that. Sometimes child actors can bring more range and realism to a role than that of a seasoned adult actor. He had only been in a few tv roles before this movie, and proved that his success in the role was not from childish good looks, but solid acting ability. Most of the difficult subject matter rested on his shoulders and he was able to pull it off superbly.

Collette has always been a favorite of mine, and she continues to carry on that role as Fiona, Marcus’ depressed mother. With a little bit of make-up and a lot of brilliant acting, she came across as a worn down woman at the edge of giving up on everything. She was wonderful to watch and easy to empathize with.

Rachel Weisz and Natalia Tena both had small roles as the love interests of Will and Marcus. Weisz was charming and pleasing in her role as usual, and Tena portrayed rough around the edges Ellie to perfection.

All in all, this movie wasn’t on the edge of your seat exciting, or awe inspiringly life altering. It was simply the story of how just one person can change your life forever, and in that respect it was fantastic.

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