“The Boys Are Back” is a tender view of a hurting family, this film is a jewel of acting, photography and story. Based on a true story, this follows Joe Carr (Clive Owen) who has recently lost his wife, and now he needs to connect with his son while juggling work and another son from his previous marriage. The tagline says it all, “Growing up can be the adventure of a lifetime.”
Why you’ll like this:
Great simple family-drama, if you enjoy movies like “Hearts in Atlantis” or “October Sky” then this should be up your alley.
The acting is absolutely flawless, and I cannot think of a single role that went flat at any point. Clive Owen continues to show his brilliance as a character missing his wife and learning to be a father. He’s astoundingly genuine in his anger, frustration, love and determination. Having such a lead must have made it easier on everyone else, but that does not diminish how fantastic and nuanced every character shines on-screen. Nicholas McAnulty and George MacKay play the sons, the latter being 6 years older, and their chemistry is magical yet they bring stark differences to the table, one being a wild-child, the other being a sensitive introvert in need of father. Simply outstanding performances, I may go as far to say that “performance” is a cheap word when describing it, they simply felt real and honest. The entire cast (including Emma Booth, Laura Fraser, Julia Blake, EVERYONE) sunk me straight into the story and moment, as true a compliment as any actor can receive.
Acting can go unusable if not filmed properly, but director Scott Hicks was perfect in his execution. The entire film lived in this higher floating moment, kind of a nostalgic memory ranging from forlorn and yearning to feeling the sunlight hit on a cold autumn day. The music played right into these still-life moments using light acoustic guitar strumming in a melancholic direction. Even after the credits rolled it was hard to turn it off, beautiful music. In this regard it reminded me much of “Garden State”, where the music serves to really underscore the drama and fill this resonating undertone to everything happening.
Why you won’t like this:
No deeper subplots worth mentioning, this is a straight forward drama.
The story itself remains rather simple in nature, but I think the best dramas live in simplistic narrative so as to leave room for the emotional journey of its characters. While I’m not a huge feel-good story kind of guy, this movie seemed to teeter between heart-felt indie drama and mainstream drama, but it never sells out and never extorts your emotions. Clive Owen made me sit down to watch, but the collaborative effort made me want to revisit this underseen film.
4 out of 5 stars.
Starring: Clive Owen, Emma Booth, Laura Fraser, George McKay, Nicholas McAnulty
Director: Scott Hicks
Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min.
Release Date: November 6, 2009