Release Date (UK) – 22 January 2010
Certificate (UK) – 12A
Country – Australia
Director – Scott Hicks
Runtime – 104mins
Starring – Clive Owen. Emma Booth, George Mackay
At first glance this looks like an exciting new Australian family drama but unfortunately The Boys are Back often comes off as an over-emotional weepy romance story, which the casting of Clive Owen in the lead role doesn’t help with. The plot (loosely based on British political journalist Simon Carr’s memoirs) follows recently widowed sports reporter Joe as he struggles to cope with being a single parent to young son Artie (Nicholas McAnulty) and deal with his own and Artie’s grieving for deceased wife Katy. To add to his troubles his teenager son from a previous relationship Harry (George MacKay) has coem to visit and he resents Joe as he feels he abandoned him in England to go and live with Katy and Artie in Australia when he was still a small child.
Joes attitude to parenting is one of complete freedom, led by his urge to try and make Artie happy after he was devastated by the death of his mother. The lack of boundaries leads to complete chaos in their home and more dramatic consequences as the film progresses. Joe’s personal struggle to cope with parenting leads him to consult ghostly visions of wife Katy (Laura Fraser) for advice and along with the breakdown of many of the characters into emotional fights and tears there are numerous weepy moments, and some may criticise the film of being a bit too melodramatic and over–emotional at points. All the cast are superb at conveying both their anger and sadness without overdoing it and both Mackay and McAnulty are talents to look out for in the future , even if Mackay is probably seriously hampered by his great resemblance to Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.
The Boys are Back is a great drama but definitely more for the girls, especially those who like a good weep so take your tissues. With its look at family and grieving it could have been a great drama but unfortunately it over indulges on the emotional side of the story for the individual characters rather than giving a greater attention to plot and relationships.