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The Boys Are Back (3 stars)

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The Boys Are Back

(12A) 103min

Based on journalist Simon Carr’s memoir of bringing up his two boys in South Australia, The Boys Are Back is a small scale but quietly pleasing drama about the difficulties of parenthood.

Executive producer Clive Owen cannily casts himself as Joe Warr, a sport-reporter whose so-laid-back-it’s-horizontal lifestyle ends abruptly when his wife Katy (Laura Fraser) dies from cancer. As Joe struggles to reconcile the pressures of his day-job with his family responsibilities to six-year-old Arte (Nicholas McNulty), his plan to bring his older son Harry (George McKay) back from boarding school in England stretches his relaxed parenting philosophy to the limit.

Shine director Scott Hicks does what he does best here and plays out a life lesson flick in a minor-key, one greatly helped by uniformly warm and sympathetic performances. Owen’s trademark brusqueness gives way to something rawer, while Fraser is luminous and fragile as his lost love, and the titular boys played by MacKay and McNulty perform without recourse to Hollywood cuteness.

Although Allan Cubit’s script lack incisiveness, The Boys Are Back plays best a classy tearjerker about the right (and wrong) ways to rear children. Hal Lindes subtle score and the use of odd Sigur Ros track certainly help things along too.

General release from Fri 22 Jan.

The Boys Are Back

The Boys Are Back

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • Australia
  • 104 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Scott Hicks
  • Written by: Allan Cubitt
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, Emma Lung, Nicholas McAnulty, George MacKay

An adaptation of Simon Carr's memoir of raising his two boys in South Australia, this is a small-scale but quietly pleasing drama about the difficulties of parenthood. Owen plays a sports-reporter whose laid-back lifestyle ends abruptly when his wife Katy (Fraser) dies from cancer. Joe struggles to reconcile the pressures…

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