The Boys Are Back

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Clive Owen as Joe Warr
Laura Fraser as Katy Warr
George MacKay as Harry Warr
Emma Booth as Laura
Natasha Little as Flick
Emma Lung as Mia
Julia Blake as Barbara
Steven Robertson as School Housemaster
Nicholas McAnulty as Artie Warr
Erik Thomson as Digby
Chris Haywood as Tom
Klayton Stainer as Beach Boy
Adam Morgan as Journalist
Alexandra Schepisi as Mother

Special Features:
- The Boys Are Back: A Photographic Journey With Optional Commentary By Director Scott Hicks
- A Father And Two Sons, On Set

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 104 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Clive Owen delivers a critically acclaimed performance in ‘The Boys Are Back,’ the heartwarming and uplifting drama about a man who is suddenly thrust into the role of single parent. Successful sportswriter Joe Warr (Owen) finds himself completely unprepared to raise his rambunctious 6-year-old son Artie and juggle the challenges of a demanding job, running a household and the possibility of romance. Determined to bring joy back into their lives, he develops a revolutionary approach to parenting no rules, no chores. It’s a home filled with love and chaos and then Joe’s estranged teenage son comes for a visit. Inspired by a true story and filled with emotional honesty, this poignant film will touch your heart and lift your spirits.”

“The Boys Are Back” is rated PG-13 for some sexual language and thematic elements.

Mini-Review:
“The Boys Are Back” attempts to cover a lot of ground in its 104 minute running time. Fortunately, it covers all that territory well. The film starts out by dealing with the death of Joe’s wife Katy. We follow Joe’s grief as he learns to cope without his wife. But as he’s trying to adjust to life without her, we see his young son Artie dealing with her death in his own way. He asks strange questions, throws tantrums, acts normal, and even goes into almost catatonic states. Joe finds himself struggling with how to handle it all. His solution? Give the kid the freedom of a household with minimal rules. As Joe and his in-laws debate the effectiveness of that parenting strategy, a new complication emerges. His teenage son from England comes to live with him. Joe now finds himself reconnecting with his estranged son, getting Artie and Harry to live with each other, and struggling between treating his older son as a child or an adult. Just to add further complication, Joe must juggle his role as a single parent and his job, the feeling of his sons about him finding a new love interest, his in-laws’ reaction to his wife’s death, and more. I told you this film was covering a lot of ground!

I think the fact that “The Boys Are Back” deals with so many topics is what makes it identifiable for audiences. Every person that watches it will run across a familiar situation. In my family we recently dealt with the death of my father in law, and my children who are about Artie’s age struggled dealing with it. Artie’s reaction in the movie in some ways mirrored their own. Everybody who is a parent has also probably at one point or another wondered how they would cope with raising kids if their spouse died. This film plays that scenario out. Families affected by divorce are going to see a lot of familiar issues played out, too. So you see that the movie will find some topic that engages you.

Clive Owen is excellent as Joe Warr. Owen has shown he can handle action, crime dramas, and more. But he also ably handles the role of single father in this movie. He expresses all the frustrations and joys of parenthood, especially in extreme situations such as these. He handles it all quite well. I think Clive Owen can probably handle any role thrown at him now. Young actors George MacKay as Harry Warr and Nicholas McAnulty as Artie Warr are both excellent as well and more than hold their own next to Owen. They are backed up by a strong supporting cast including Emma Booth as Laura, Joe’s new love interest and Laura Fraser as Katy Warr, his deceased wife.

OK, I’ve raved about it a lot but gave it a 7 out of 10. Why? Well, it’s a tad depressing and I, personally, like more lighthearted fare. As good as it is, that’s where it fell on my entertainment scale. Debate that in the comments.

If you like tearjerkers or are a big fan of Clive Owen, then this movie is required viewing for you.

Unfortunately there aren’t all that many bonus features. There’s a photo gallery with narration provided by director Scott Hicks. There’s also a very brief featurette showing the real people the story is based on visiting their big screen alter-egos. It’s quite interesting to see them all on set together.

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