Friday, December 30, 2011

Son of Rambow [2007]

Director: Garth Jennings
Cast: Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Neil Dudgeon, Jessica Hynes, Jules Sitruk
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rating: General
Excerpt: "A movie that's every bit as charming as the chubby cheeks of a baby..."

Set in England back in the '80s, the story focuses on Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), who comes from a family belonging to a strict religious sect that forbids him from enjoying the many pleasures life has to offer, including television. Combined with his capacity for creativity, he grew up to be a shy and gullible child who only has his wild imagination to keep him company. One day, as usual Will is made to wait outside while the rest of the classroom watches a documentary, but it's this one day when he crosses paths with a delinquent, Lee Carter (Will Poulter). One scam later, and Will suddenly finds himself being the star of Lee's film project.

What to Expect
1. '80s pop culture references
2. Endearing performances by the lead actors
3. A funny movie
4. To shed a tear (Well, I did)

What NOT to Expect
1. Laugh-out-loud comedy
2. A kiddie movie
Had I seen this when it was released, it would have still been one of the year's best
As you can probably tell from me having this topic on the blog, I have a thing for the sentimental and this movie made me feel warm all over the same way movies like Peter Pan [2003] and Bridge to Terabithia [2007] did, where it kind of reminded me of what life was like when I can be a dork and nerdy all the time, and nobody would bat an eyelid. Ah yes, it was a much simpler time, before we had to spend ninety percent of our time facing a computer of any form or any sort.

It's something everyone growing up in the '80s and '90s could relate to, something we'd appreciate more than others perhaps. I feel like it's important to stress on that because for me, that's where the main appeal of this movie came from, a coming-of-age story in a lighthearted tone, topped off with family values, friendship and brotherhood.

The story was built around a movie-within-a-movie structure, where the two young protagonists embarked on a film project, making their own version of the classic Rambo movie, First Blood [1982]. I found it amusing considering that First Blood was such a dark and violent movie, but for reasons I can't quite pinpoint, it worked. Perhaps like the characters, I too grew up during the golden years of action flicks. So we really can relate to that.

It definitely helped that the movie had some equally memorable subplots to move the story along. From the background of the two main characters, to the hijinks of the Parisian exchange students and the English students mingling together. As long as you're not expecting a gross-out comedy, Son of Rambow should provide enough chuckles and giggles to pass the time, along with a heartfelt moment wrapping up the movie rather nicely.

Starring in one of the two lead roles is Will Poulter, who first caught my attention as the annoying cousin in the third Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader [2010], and he's just as fantastic in this one, if not better obviously because he had a much longer screen time. The rest of the cast were new to me, but I was pleasantly surprised nonetheless, especially French actor Jules Sitruk as the pretty boy French exchange student who had all the English students fawning over him.

All the same, you shouldn't be getting the wrong idea, this is a movie for children. In fact, I have a strong feeling that much of the humour and pop culture references would be lost on them. Like I said, this is a movie made for those whose formative years took place back in the '90s, who grew up on a steady diet of VHS films, ran out of the house after watching them and did things that would make parents of today gasp in unison.

Or maybe I'm just holding on to the past much too dearly, maybe I'm just overly-sentimental. But hey, I'm sure I'm not alone in this, otherwise movies like these wouldn't have seen the light of day. Give it a try, maybe you'll find something in it for you too. As for me, it ended up being one of those movies that made me hug my knees and reminisce the better and simpler times.

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