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About a Boy (2002) is a British comedy film co-written and directed by brothers Chris and Paul Weitz, who are also known for directing American Pie (1999).
The film was adapted from the 1998 book of the same name, written by Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch, A Long Way Down). Although I usually choose books over films, in this case I read the book once years ago, and although I enjoyed it I've probably watched the film 30 plus times so felt more equipped to review the film. It isn't the only Nick Hornby book to hit the big screen either, the films High Fidelity (2000) and A Long Way Down (2014) both started life as novels by Hornby. Fever Pitch has also been made into a film twice.
==Partial plot synopsis==
The film starts by introducing the two main characters; Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) and Marcus Brewer (Nicholas Hoult) who are unknown to each other at this point.
Will is a 30-something-year-old man who is extremely shallow and lives alone in his swanky London flat. He spends most of his time smoking, eating out, playing pool, shopping, watching films and going out with a string of attractive women who he sleeps with and never calls again. His abundance of free time is explained by the fact that he lives off royalties (his diceased father wrote a famous Christmas song) and therefore doesn't need, or choose, to work.
Marcus is a young boy who gets bullied at school due to his dodgy haircut, wacky clothes and the fact that he does embarrassing things like accidentally singing in the middle of lessons and being walked to school by his Mum who shouts 'I love you' across the playground to him. He lives with just his Mother, Fiona, an eccentrically dressed vegetarian hippy who suffers from depression.
Near the start of the film Will realises that single mothers are the perfect short-term partners for him to pursue. He joins a group called SPAT (single parents alone together) where he is pleased to find he is the only man there and that of course all the women are single. This does mean he must invent a fictional son, and he crafts a little story about a two-year-old son called Ned and an ex-partner who left him. This works wonders for him in terms of sympathy from the rest of the group. He quickly notices the beautiful Suzie (Victoria Smurfit) and wastes no time arranging to take their children to the park together. He obviously turns up alone, inventing a reason why 'Ned', cannot be there. Suzie brings along her own toddler daughter as well as her friends' son, who just so happens to be Marcus.
Marcus and Will don't hit it off but an unexpected incident that day changes things and Marcus begins to realise that he would like his Mum to have someone special in her life in order to help with her depression. He decides this someone could be Will. He persuades Will to take the two of them out for lunch, which proves to be a fairly awkward meal where Will is horrified to realise he appears to have been set up on some kind of date with Fiona, and it becomes very clear the two of them have absolutely nothing in common. It is, however, the start of an unlikely friendship between Will and Marcus.
Obviously more than this happens throughout the rest of the film and other characters are introduced but I won't divulge the entire plot. That said, I think it's fair to say the plot isn't huge and there are no massive spoilers to give, but the plot that does exist is delivered so fantastically in my opinion that this doesn't matter.
The majority of the soundtrack is written and performed by the fantastic Badly Drawn Boy (aka Darren Gough) and was released as an album (also 2002, also entitled About a Boy).
I won't list every track but the better known/most heavily featured songs are:
Something to Talk About
Above Me, Below You
River, Sea, Ocean
This album sounds just glorious and I used to listen to it a lot when it was released. As a 14-year-old child it was unlike the rest of my music collection (it consisted of rock and pop punk only) but I adored this album then and still do now. It's one of those rare albums where every song is equally amazing, in my opinion.
The style of music has a folk-y feel and is very chilled out, it feels effortless; a lot of songs predominantly feature acoustic guitar, piano, and also other less-common instruments such as the harmonica.
Something I love about this album is that certain songs on it instantly take me to the point in the film where they are played.
This album manages to be incredibly calm and relaxing but far from dull.
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer
Toni Collette as Fiona Brewer
Rachel Weisz as Rachel (Will's love interest later in the film)
Nat Gastiain Tena as Ellie (Marcus' friend/love interest)
Sharon Small as Christine (A friend of Will's)
Nicholas Hutchinson as John (A friend of Will's)
Victoria Smurfit as Suzie
In a nutshell, to me this film is perfection. I think the cast is superb, the soundtrack is my second favourite of any film (Billy Elliot marginally wins because I'm a huge T.Rex fan) and the fact that there isn't a huge storyline becomes irrelevant because the film is so funny and easy to watch.
Toni Collette is one of my favourite actresses anyway, and I think she gives an outstanding and extremely believable performance in About a Boy. She is Australian and I think she masters the British accent very well. She is just perfect in this role.
Hugh Grant plays his usual role, and in this case his shallow charm and slight social awkwardness makes him perfect for the part. Despite spending most of the film as some kind of wannabee playboy, he is somehow likeable.
This was one of Nicolas Hoult's first acting roles, and as far as I'm aware it is his first main role. Hoult does such a good job of playing a socially inept pre-teen who the audience will probably like and at the very least sympathise or identify with. This part established him well as an actor and 12 years later he is all grown up and has a successful career as an actor/model.
One of the things that keeps this film funny in my opinion is the sarcastic, dry nature of the humour. The film is narrated in parts by mainly Will and occasionally Marcus. This is funny particularly in Will's case as he is usually polite and does not say what he actually thinks, but the watcher still gets to find out what his thoughts are via the narrative.
There are a few fairly grim issues dealt with in About a Boy (bullying, depression) but it isn't an overall serious film. That said, I don't feel that the film makes too much light of these very real issues, it does have (very fleeting) slightly more somber moments and manages to have a happy ending without coming across as being too unrealistic or twee.
Over all I think this is a very funny, feel-good film. It is not the blatant, in-your-face kind of humour but much more understated, sarcastic and really quite 'British'. Despite being predominately a comedy, it is quite affecting in places and the top-notch acting and hilarious observations delivered through the main narrative make it outstanding.
Rotten Tomatoes - 93%
IMDB - 7.1/10
Certificate - PG-13. The film contains a bit of swearing, no nudity or violence.
Running time - 105 minutes
Although this is a film-only review a quick look on Amazon tells me this can be purchased on DVD for under £3, brand new and including delivery.
About A Boy is the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's book of the same name. The protagonist is a man called Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) who lives a very self-centred life. He doesn't work (which often leads to awkward conversations at parties) but instead lives off the royalties of an incredibly annoying Christmas song that his father wrote. All of this changes however, when Will meets Marcus (Nicholas Hault), a persistent 12 year old boy who seems set on becoming a part of Will's life, whether Will wants him there or not. Throughout the course of the film the two realise that they can actually learn something from each other, which leads to an amusing event at Marcus's school towards the end of the film.
About A Boy isn't especially fast-paced, complicated or confusing. It's not the kind of film that you invite everyone over to watch and then talk about for weeks on end. Instead it's the kind of film that you watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon and can watch over and over again. If you want a film that's going to blow your mind, this isn't it, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth owning a copy.
About the film
About A Boy is a comedy drama film which was released in 2002 and is based on the book of the same name by Nick Hornby. The film has a run time of 105 minutes and is rated 12 due to some strong language.
Twelve year old Marcus is not like other kids his age. He stands out from the crowd and is very unique. As he is so different, singing and talking to himself without even realising, he becomes the target of bullies. He lives with his depressed mother Fiona and will do absolutely anything to make her happy again, even if it means that he becomes miserable himself.
Will Freeman is thirty eight and a huge slacker. He has never had to work a day in his life due to living off of royalties of a song written by his dead father. Will is selfish and self-centred, thinking only of himself at all times. Not wanting to commit to anyone or anything, he decides that dating single mothers is the way to go. However, by attempting this, he meets Fiona and Marcus which results in a very unique kind of friendship between a man and a child.
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer
Toni Collette as Fiona Brewer
Rachel Weisz as Rachel
Nat Gastiain Tena as Ellie
Sharon Small as Christine
Nicholas Hutchinson as John
Victoria Smurfit as Suzie
Isabel Brook as Angie
Ben Ridgeway as Lee, the bully
Jenny Galloway as Frances / SPAT
Augustus Prew as Ali
What I thought
I had put off watching this film for years after its release due to it starring Hugh Grant. I really don't like him so tend to stay away from a lot of his films, depending on who else is in them. However, I am glad I finally watched this though as it is a wonderful film.
Nicholas Hoult is absolutely the star of this film for me. Now, Hoult is best known for his role in Skins and also X-Men: First Class but About A Boy is the film that really started his career. As Marcus, Hoult makes the character very quirky and strange which goes with his slightly peculiar looks. From the beginning, Marcus is such a likeable character which has a lot to do with the emotions that he displays. Marcus is pretty much an open book and it is easy to see what he is feeling at all times which makes Hoult a great child actor. Marcus' character also has some really funny moments throughout the film which are partly joint with Hugh Grant's character Will.
This is one of the few films that I actually don't mind Hugh Grant in. Even though Grant's character Will is selfish and self-centred, he was still quite likeable in a strange way. I think this is quite an understated role for Grant compared with some of his other films and maybe why I didn't mind him too much in it. His character Will goes through a hell of a lot of character development throughout the film which is also why I didn't hate him. I was glad to see certain changed and for him to realise that there is more in the world than himself.
Seeing Hoult and Grant working together was great for me. The script was witty and clever which helped their friendship be so special. There aren't any other films that I can think of that portray a relationship like this in such a way that makes it believable. Both actors worked extremely well together and their chemistry was very believable. I think that this is a huge credit to Hoult as working so closely with someone so famous and doing a great job must have been quite nerve-wracking.
The females of the film are Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz. Although Weisz, who plays Rachel, does a great job, she is definitely outshined by Collette. I first heard of Collette in Murial's Wedding which is a film that I love. Playing Marcus' depressed mother, Collette really gives an amazing performance. Her character is full of a strange personality and I loved her strange quirky ways. Collette and Hoult did a good job together making it believable that they actually could be mother and son as they were just as strange as each other. Unfortunately, Weisz plays only a love interest with little personality or importance in the story. Even though I know that she is a really good actress, she is pushed into the background in this film due to other outstanding performances.
After liking this film so much, I was sad that I had put it off for so long. I think I have to learn to take Hugh Grant differently for each film that he is in and give them a chance before thinking that I will hate a film because of him.
I had read the book of About A Boy by Nick Hornby (also author of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity) upon which this film was based and enjoyed it and found it amusing. I did not want to watch the film though, as I can't stand the sight of Hugh Grant and every time I see him in a film it's usually a "chick flick".
One day my girlfriend was watching this and I had no choice but to look. It was surprisingly good. Hugh Grant plays Will, one of the main characters, who befriends a schoolboy called Marcus, the other main character.
The two meet when Will goes on a date with a woman he met in a single parents club (Will isn't a single parent it was just his latest way to meet single women). The woman is friends with Marcus's mother and brings Marcus along on the date.
At first the boy irritates Will, but he soon develops a soft spot for the young lad who is bullied at school and who's mother is depressed and suicidal. Marcus starts visiting Will's flat each evening after school and they chill out together and watch DVD's. Will then starts trying to make Marcus more cool, so he won't be the target of bullies if he has the new trendy clothes and footwear.
Will then decides to use Marcus as his pretend child when he's meeting other single mothers after the first date found out he invented the child to meet women.
The film is amusing and there are some funny scenes, one being Marcus killing a duck in the pond throwing a rock hard loaf of bread on top of it, my girlfriend's favourite part is when Marcus is singing 'Killing Me Softly' at the end very badly, so Will steps in with his guitar to help and is even worse.
The film does a good job of covering serious issues such as bullying, depression and suicide, whilst still managing to remain entertaining and funny.
It's not a film that I would watch again but I would recommend it. I find Hugh Grant as smarmy as ever, but it is actually required for this part so I'll let it slide.
The film was released in 2002, directed by brothers Chris and Paul Weitz.
The film is rated a 12 which is a suitable age rating for the film.
The length of the film is 101 minutes.
It is available online for around the £3 mark.
About a boy is the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel of the same name. The plot revolves around the unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and a man in his 30s.
Will Freeman is the ultimate bachelor. He lives on the royalties of his late dad's one hit wonder and thinks about nobody but himself. In an attempt to meet women he invents himself a toddler and joins a single parent support group.
Marcus is a 12 year old who lives with his unconvential and suicidal mother. He has a dodgy haircut, a lack of mates and his mum still kisses him at the playground.
They prove to be just what each other needs.
There aren't that many characters in the film that we actually get to know well. Hugh Grant plays Will effortlessly (the character's probably not far from him in real life). Nicholas Hoult (Tony from Skins) is perfect as the part of Marcus, while Toni Collette is very kooky as Marcus' mother. Sharon Small also stars as one of the other parents from the support group.
I love both the book and the film adaption of About a Boy, which is unusual for me as I rarely feel that a film adaption has done the original book justice. The plot is great and is unlike any other film I know of, and the cast are perfect. There is just the right balance of comedy and drama in the film, some parts are hilarious, for example the duck scene (I don't want to give too much away, but if you watch it you'll know what I mean). You can't help but feel for Marcus, he is rather helpless but adamant that he and Will should become friends. There's something quite endearing about the pair of them. They're both in need of some guidance in the right direction and they find it in each other. This is an excellent film that I will never get bored of watching.
The soundtrack is all by Badly Drawn Boy. Roughly half are songs with vocals and half orchestral arrangements, all written especially for the film. Listen out for Marcus and his mum's rendition of 'Killing me softly', it's cringeworthy!
Released in: 2002
Running Time: 101 minutes
Age Certificate: 12
Available for: £2.98 Amazon (23/07/12)
Film only review
I had vaguely heard about this film when I noticed that it was on television last weekend. Having quickly read the blurb I decided to watch it. I love Hugh Grant so my decision was swayed by him being in it!
About a Boy started off as a best selling novel by Nick Hornby and was turned into a film in 2002. Not having read the book I had no preconceptions about this film and was able to enjoy it without having to think "they didn't do that it in the book".
The film is set in London and centres around the relationship that builds up between 12 year old Marcus Brewer (Nicholas Hoult) who lives with his slightly eccentric mum, Fiona and Will Freeman (Hugh Grant). Fiona suffers from chronic depression which makes life very difficult for Marcus. Marcus tries to do anything that will make his mum happy even if he doesn't want to do it himself and as a result finds that he is often the target of bullying at school. Will is 38 and has never had to work as he lives comfortably off the royalties of a song written by his late father. He likes to keep himself to himself and not get too emotionally involved with anyone. However, he does like to go out and have fun and at his age, meeting a nice uncomplicated female is difficult as most of his circle of friends are now married. He hits on the idea that dating single mothers might be the way forward and so decides to visit the sort of places they would attend, such as Single Parent groups. It is through one of these meetings that he is introduced to Marcus and Fiona and the scene is now set for an amusing yet poignant film.
**My Thoughts and Opinion**
Nicholas Hoult plays the part of Marcus very well with just the right amount of quirkiness and compassion, a very promising young actor. Marcus loves his mum and tries hard to understand her depression but sometimes feels very alone as he has to carry the responsibility of making sure that she is ok when she is having one of her bad spells. He sometimes thinks that he is the reason she gets depressed and will do anything to make her happy. He dresses in offbeat clothes the same as she does and tries to like the same music she likes in order to make her feel happy. As a result he is bullied at school and feels even more alone. When he meets Will he isn't really interested in getting to know him until there is an incident in the park which Marcus gets told off for by the park attendant. Will stands up for Marcus as he realises the boy didn't mean any harm and Marcus looks at Will with new respect.
After meeting Marcus' mum, Will realises why the boy is different to other boys his age and feels a little sorry for him. However, he doesn't want to get involved as that is not his style and he is frightened of emotional involvement - " Once you open your door to one person anyone can come in." Marcus, however, has other ideas and latches onto Will as someone he can spend time with as an escape from his Mum's depression.
It is interesting to see how the relationship pans out and how Will gradually lets Marcus into his life and helps him and eventually his mother to have a better relationship.
However, it is not all about how Will helps Marcus. Without realising it, Marcus helps Will to grow up at last and take some responsibility for how his life will turn out. Marcus helps Will to grow emotionally and not be so afraid of commitment and letting people into his life. Hugh Grant gives more depth to this character than perhaps he has in previous films and portrays the journey from selfish, commitment-phobe into a more rounded character, allowing some emotional involvement into his life. The two help each other and become good friends.
So far you may be thinking that this film is all a bit serious. It isn't though. There are lots of amusing moments, especially between Marcus and Will and also whilst Will is trying to find a single mum! On the whole the film has an upbeat feel to it as it is clear from the outset that things will improve for both Marcus and Will. I liked the way there were voice overs for some of Will's and Marcus' thoughts as these added amusement to the film.
Some other actors that I knew popped up, Sharon Small (Mistresses on BBC1) a girlfriend of Will's and Cathy Murphy (Eastenders) a nurse. Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener and Mummy films) but weren't the main characters.
I really enjoyed this film and so did my 16 year old daughter. It made us laugh and made us think. There are a lot of people like Will who find it difficult to let any emotional commitment into their lives which results in a rather lonely life as they get older. There are also a lot of people suffering from chronic depression (like Fiona) who find life very difficult at times and there are a lot of children (like Marcus) who have to cope with the problems and emotions that result from living with a depressed parent. All these points come across in the film and gently reminded me of these situations. However, it was all dealt with in a gentle way and with appropriate humour that made an excellent film.
From the writers of Meet the parents and Bridget Jones' diary comes another British story to tell this one is : about a boy
12 year old Marcus isn't living the best life, he lives with his single mum who is going through depression and attempts to commit suicide by taking over dose of drugs and Marcus is trying everything to make her feel happy again and get everything back to normal. Marcus is also being bullied at school for singing at random moments - during lessons and everyone calls him 'Spice girls,' 'Britney Spears,' and 'Madonna.' But then when his friends hear about his bullying for singing they turn round and say to Marcus that he cannot hang out with them anymore. So, Marcus then makes a new friend out of man named Will who hates kids, but he has a lot of dates with a number of women sadly all the women he has been on a date with has children. But when Marcus comes into Will's life - Will begins to switch opinions about his views on children but what could they be? positive? negative? or just stay the same? Maybe your opinion on children may change too!
Will: Hugh Grant
Marcus: Nicoholas Hoult
Christine: Sharon Small
Fiona: Toni Collette
Rachel : Rachel Weisz
Ali : Augustus Prew
director : Chris Weitz
certificate : 12
runtime : 101 minutes
release date: 26th April 2002 (UK theatre)
I love this film as I love anything by the Bridget Jones writing team! They make some of the best British films! I could watch them for hours and hours. Yeah, i love this film and like Hugh Grant's character Will, it has changed my opinion on kids - so I now know if I ever do want kids in the future - even though that might change in ten years time or so!
But as well i think the film could have been a little bit longer as it is only about an hour and a half. Be maybe half an hour more or something.
So yeah, this is a good film if you love british films or anything by the writers of Bridget Jones!
RELEASED: 2002, Cert.12
RUNNING TIME: 97mins
SOUNDTRACK: By Badly Drawn Boy
DIRECTORS: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
SCREENWRITERS: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz, Peter Hodges
Will Freeman (Hugh Grant)
Marcus (Nicholas Hoult)
Fiona, Marcus' mother (Toni Collette)
Suzie (Victoria Smurfit)
Based on the Nick Hornby novel, About A Boy is a light-hearted comedy/drama which introduces us to Will Freeman, a self-confessed shallow, late-30-something bachelor who has no need to work because his receipt of royalties from a Christmas song his father had once written allows him to lead a semi-luxury lifestyle.
Will reaches a somewhat crazy conclusion that single parent women have no interest in finding new husbands yet still like men, so by pretending to have a young son, he fakes his way into a support group for single mothers in the hope that he can have casual relationships with one or more of the women. Single mother Suzie takes his fancy, but on his first outing with her, she brings along her friend's son, Marcus. Marcus' pseudo-hippie, sandal-knitting, yoghurt-weaving vegan mother (Fiona) is seriously depressed, and when it's time for Suzie and Will to drop Marcus off at his home, they find Fiona unconscious on the sofa in a pool of vomit, after a suicide attempt.
Whilst Fiona is recovering, Marcus tags onto Will, visiting him whenever he can. Marcus is an unhappy boy, distraught over both his mother's condition and him being a misfit at school.
Gradually, Will and Marcus form a strange kind of friendship and build a bond together whereby Will gives Marcus the strength to cope with the problems he has to bear, and Marcus opens Will's eyes to the fact that due to his shallowness, he has missed out on a lot in life. Will is in the early stages of a midlife crisis, and finds his thoughts turning towards reviewing his opinions on things he had previously feared and run away from.
I didn't see About A Boy when it was first released, largely because although I adore Hugh Grant, I had a bit of a prejudice towards the fairly broad category this film falls into. It was (and in some instances still is) my opinion that this genre of movie is largely twittery and soulless, but I forced myself to open my mind and recently bought a copy of the DVD.
I must admit that my sole purpose for buying (at a greatly reduced price) and watching About A Boy in the first place, was so that I could write a couple of reviews on it, hence probably managing to recoup the mere £2 I paid for it. I was expecting to be bored as I clicked the 'play' button, but immediately my attention was held to the screen.
I have to be honest and say that my first level of interest in About A Boy was almost entirely geared towards lusting after the beautiful, gorgeously sexy hunk Hugh Grant, but as the film progressed, I found myself enjoying what I was seeing on the screen, and laughing out loud at some of the comedy moments.
I do seem to remember when About A Boy was at its height of popularity, everybody I worked with was raving about the music score performed by Badly Drawn Boy. Whether it's my age that's getting in the way or not, I have to say that the music did nothing for me.....I hardly even noticed it!
As far as the characters are concerned, I found Marcus' mother Fiona, extremely irritating. I wanted to get hold of her and scream into her face that she was damaging her son - not because of her depression, as that's a thing nobody can help suffering from - it was more to do with her overall image; the pseudo-hippie bit. Despite me not liking the character of Fiona, I feel that Toni Collette acted the role very well, and was superbly convincing to the point where she strongly reminded me of a couple of friends I used to have.
I feel that Nicholas Hoult played the part of Marcus fairly well, especially regarding his facial expressions when having to deal with his mother, and cope with being bullied at school. I would have liked to see a little more diversity in his personality though, as to me he came across as a little wooden here and there.
My favourite character throughout the film is Hugh Grant's portrayal of Will. Aside from the fact that he is so gorgeous I could happily vanish off into a sunset with him, it worried me a little because I was reminded that back in the days when I was on the 'available' circuit, Will is exactly the type of man I used to be attracted to. I couldn't help warming to the character of Will, despite him being what I call a pleasant-natured bastard, and as the film progressed, I found myself feeling a little sorry for him as though shallow and selfish, he is totally harmless, and basically a nice guy. It took a child to touch on the parts of him that he was keeping hidden away under lock and key inside his mind, and I felt that Hugh Grant gave a superb delivery of a man approaching middle age who's starting to allow himself to feel things more deeply than he'd ever done before.
Though I enjoyed About A Boy immensely, I'm not sure if I'll watch it too frequently in the future, and I'm trying to work out if that's because it all came across a little facile here and there, or whether Will suddenly questioning parts of why he'd chosen the lifestyle of a modern-day 'Alfie' was a bit too close to home in that I've kind of done that with myself and my own life, largely by choice.
Aside from sex on legs Hugh Grant, the best part for me about the film was the laughs it provided......the screenplay delivering some beautifully off the wall humour which was well-crafted and witty.
To me, About A Boy comes across as being a film which is possibly directed at people a little younger than myself, but that doesn't mean to say I didn't enjoy it. I'm trying to find something to say that's wrong with the film, but to be honest I can't, even though I'm sure it won't take a place in my all-time top 20.
My overall précis, is that it's interesting, amusing and a little thought-provoking, but I'd not say About A Boy is one of the very greatest films ever made. A lovely little movie to watch if staying in alone for the evening with your feet up scoffing a bar of chocolate and demolishing a bottle of Thunderbird, but unless you girls and gay men allow your imaginations to run wild about what you could do with Adonis Hugh Grant, I don't think it would make a hugely lasting impression on many people's deeper and more serious sensitivities.
If you've not seen it and wish to, About A Boy currently can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.44 to £36.95
Used: from 3p to £4.99
Collectible: two copies available at £4.42 and £9.95
A £1.24 delivery charge should be added to the above prices.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
This is the film basrd on the book by Nick Hornby.
About A boy stars Hugh Grant in a usual I'm a terrible Englishmen but eventually have a conscience role. Grant is 38 year old Will whose life is filled with nothingness but units such a getting his hair cut-3 units, buying a CD - 2 units etc. He doesn't have to work because his father had a song published and Will now lives off the royalties from it. He decides it would be a good idea to pretend to have a child in order to meet women. He joins SPAT - Single Parents Alone Together and meets a woman and arranges to take both their children on a picnic. Of course he doesn't have one and so pretends that he has gone somewhere with his mother. The woman brings along another SPAT members son - 12 year old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult - now in Skins), as his mother Fiona (Toni Collette) is not well.
After the picnic Will says the usual thing we all say 'See you later' and Marcus takes this literally and ends up on Wills doorstep much to his annoyance at first. Will likes his own space with all his gadgets and big TVs and doesn't need human contact to clutter that up. He has his daily routine of nothingness and thinks that is all he needs. They soon spend time together on a mutual need. It turns out that Marcus' mum suffers from bouts of depression and the sensitive Marcus mostly has to sort himself out. Will then decides to buy him new trainers and Cds etc and then Will sees a woman he really likes and feels he can have a proper relationship with and uses Marcus to be his son. Marcus being only 12 wonders why he doesn't just tell the truth if he likes this woman.
So the film shows us the relationship between Will who thinks his life is full with all the technology you could ever dream of and how Marcus, a lonely boy turns Wills life in completely the other direction.
This is typical Grant character but it is an entertaining film. The way that they use him and Hoult to narrate parts of the film as if they are reading from their diary adds a new dimension to the film to help us better understand what is happening. Gone are Grants flopping (and annoying) locks of hair and he is shown as slick and stylish but still acting the selfish rich man. When Marcus asks for advice from him he just doesn't have the inclination to try and think about helping him with difficult things like 'emotions'
Hoult plays Marcus brilliantly. His nerdy character deals with things thrown at him such as the way he is forced to dress by his hippy mother. He deals with the sensitive side of living with a depressive and how he does things to please her and not caring about the effect it would have on him, he just wants to make her happy and stop crying. He holds onto Will's friendship in the hope that he can help him but in fact he in turn helps Will to see there is more to life and having people around you is a good thing.
Collette as Marcus' mum does an OK job but we don't really see enough of her with the film mostly based around the man and boy. (a relationship that would be frowned upon in real life in my opinion)
Overall this film is not brilliant but is does have a few witty moments. The emotional scenes blend in well with the comedy scenes and it's great to see Will actually get a bit of empathy with the young boy and try and help him.
To say it is a romantic comedy is a bit far-fetched as there wasn't much romancing going on. It did follow Will trying to get into single mothers pants if you can call that romantic!
The ending does jump a year ahead and I feel there could have been a bit more to show how they got to that point, it is a bit rushed.
The thing I liked the most about this film is that Badly drawn boy did the music!
So if you are after a fun-filled film full of funny moments then this film isn't for you.
Hugh Grant in About a Boy
Running time: 105 minutes
Director: Chris Weitz
Year : 2002
Country: United States
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman
Toni Collette as Fiona Brewer
Rachel Weisz as Rachel
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer
Natalia Tena as Ellie
Sharon Small as Christine
The story About a Boy
About a Boy is about Will Freeman, a bachelor man in his 30's who's living his life. He never had to work a day in his life, due his father success as a writer of a Christmas song. He hates children and responsibilities. Until he dates a woman, set up by his friends, who's apparently is a single mother. First he want to run away, but then he discovers that single mothers are very easy and they are very protective of their children, so they don't let you in their lives that easily. This means hardly any commitment and responsibilities! He sees this whole new market and even decides to go to this talk group for single parents and even makes up an imaginary son. He meets somebody and they decide to go on a date but then she brings her own child but also a child of a friend who's ill. This boy of like 8 years old is called Marcus and will have a bigger impact on Will's life and he could imagine.
The famous Hugh Grant plays the part of Will Freeman, the bachelor without any responsibilities. A totally different part for him then in the movie Nothing Hill, where he is the all romantic guy. In this movie, well he's a jerk, but I liked him. He still has that sweet innocent look and he comes across believable as somebody who doesn't really care. You do sees this change happening, which makes it interesting. A good part of Hugh Grant. The boy Marcus is being played by Nicholas Hoult, also now known for his part in the show Skins. Where he plays a teenager and funny enough you still see the same features as in this movie as well in the series. I liked the acting.
There are a few extras on the DVD such as commentary of the directors of the movie. Also an making off the movie and some interviews with the actors and some deleted scenes. Nice amount of extras.
A surprisingly good movie with Hugh Grant. I like Hugh Grant, but didn't really got excited for this movie since it's a drama movie involving a child. I never really been a fan of movies where children have to play a serious part, but i didnt realise that Nicholas Hoult played in this movie. He plays a really good part, as well as Hugh Grant. You know how this movie is going to end, but still it's very entertaining to watch and it's a good story.
Nick Hornby is one of the few authors of whom I'd consider myself to be a fan. High Fidelity, How to be Good and About a Boy being particular favourites of mine. (I must say, however, I was positively underwhelmed by Slam) When a much-loved book is adapted for film, there's always a little concern it won't live up to expectation.
I was a little surprised by the decision to cast Hugh Grant into his part - it's just not quite how I saw things in my head when reading - and when I heard he was playing Will, I was a little worried he'd be...all Hugh Grant-ish...."I seem to be so charmingly befuddled". Thankfully, however, Grant is able to shed his goofy rom-com shackles and puts in a decent, believable performance as an emotional island...No, as Ibiza.
Rachel Weisz seemed a more logical choice to me and I wasn't disappointed - her performance is strong, sensitive - and managed to play the part with out becoming annoying - remarkable given some of the material she has to work with.
The other cast also do a pretty solid job, although I find it tricky to connect with Marcus and his mother in the same way I do when reading the book.
The soundtrack, provided by Badly Brawn Boy is nice, and adds a really nice, gentle tone to the film.
About a boy isn't hilarious. It's not devastatingly sad, it's not too fast, it's not too slow...It's just quite a nice, gentle, movie...I guess that's what I like about the book - they're easy to pick up and read, they're quite straightforward and they're not too taxing...Sadly, however, being of the "younger generation" I guess I feel I need a little more stimulation when watching something on film. And whilst about a boy is "solid" and "nice", it's rarely remarkable.
About a boy was one of my favourite books when I was around 12 so I might be a little biased towards this film because of that. The book originally written by Nick Hornby is amazing. Even having a part in which Kurt Cobain dies and with Ellie running away to go and join all the other fans to mourn his death.
The film is quite faithful to the book, just missing some of the plot out rather than changing it. The main characters in this film is Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) and Marcus (Nicholas Hoult).
Will is a single nearly 40 man who likes his life this way, he is scared of commitment. He has never worked and this is because his father wrote a famous Christmas song and he lives off the royalties to it.
Marcus is an 11 year old boy who lives with his single mother, His mother Fiona (Toni Collete) is a vegetarian, music therapist who is a little bit of a hippy. Marcus finds it really hard to fit in at school and is a little bit of a loner who gets picked on.
After Wills gets set up with a single mother and then dumped because she can't handle a relationship just yet because of her break-up with her child's father he decides that single mothers are the way to go for relationships that have no commitment. He has no idea how to meet up with women like this until he sees a poster for S.P.A.T (Single parents alone together) He makes up a fake child and joins the group. This means that he meets Marcus, he goes on a S.P.A.T picnic with on of the single mothers and finds that she is taking care of Marcus because his mother is a little down, to give her a break.
When they return Marcus to his home they find out that his mother has tried to commit suicide and they rush her to the hospital. Marcus and Will strike up a really bizarre friendship and keep in contact. Will Will teach Marcus how to be cooler and how to fit in at school and will Marcus teach Will how to become more responsible?
One of the things that I love is when both of them fall in love Will with Rachel (Rachel Weisz) and Marcus with Ellie (Natalia Tena) I have always loved the character of Ellie from the book and in the film the actress does not disappoint either. I loved her style the whole grunge look and the way that the actress just seemed to fit into the part.
This film isn't one of the usual Rom-coms or chick flicks, this one is more unusually taken from the mans perspective, with many of the voiceovers being from either will or Marcus.
I love near the end where Will embarrasses himself for the sake of Marcus, he learns to care about someone else other than himself which I find a real character change for him from the beginning of the film.
There are quite a few funny moments in the film, from the dead duck to Christmas at Marcus's. The music in this film was written by Badly Drawn Boy specially for this film. I really like the music and even went as far as buying the album for this film by him. Each of the main scenes seem to have their own riff and I found this really enjoyable.
About a boy, is a film all about one boy, well actually its not, it's a film about a boy, a man, and a few women as well. The film starts with Will, played by Hugh Grant, Will is a trendy young man, who doesn't have any troubles in his life he doesn't work, he doesn't have a relationship to worry about and he only cares about himself, living off money his dad made from a hit single years ago.
However after visiting a friend who has kids, and after going out with a single mum, Will realises the benefits of dating single parents. Therefore he decided to make up that he has a son and goes to SPAT meetings, (single parents alone together). There he meets a single mum that he likes and they decided to go to a picnic together, although Will cant actually take the son he doesn't have, he makes up an excuse for him, and the other woman brings her child as well as the child of her friend who is called Marcus. Marcus's mom then tried to commit suicide that day while they are out and therefore Will forms a relationship with this child from then on, after he discovers he doesn't really have a son and starts coming to his house to hang out because he doesn't really have friends of his own.
The film is a kind of typical romantic comedy, however it does actually have a good story line until many of the other romantic comedies I have seen. It stars Hugh Grant and so the acting is top notch, and funny, and it also stars Nicolas Hoult as the young boy who plays him brilliantly, some people may now recognise him from skins and he has done many more things since this movie as well.
If you like a nice easy watching film, perfect to put on for a rainy afternoon and have a good laugh then this is for you. it's a funny film, and a real feel good movie and I have seen time numerous times now but still always enjoy it.
About A Boy - is the 2002 film version of the excellent novel from Nick Hornby. Directed by brothers Chris & Paul Weitz, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Hedges, earning them a Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Will Freeman (Hugh Grant), is a nearly 40-year old, happy bachelor who leads an easy life thanks to the royalties from a Christmas song written by his father. He manages to fill his days with smoking and watching television. After turning down a request from a couple of friends to be their childs godfather, Will becomes obsessed about dating single mums. He attends a single parents group and to fit in, he creates an imaginary 2-year old son called Ned. While trying to get to know Suzie, one of the single mothers at a picnic Will meets Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). Marcus is the eccentric 12-year old son of Suzies friend Fiona (Toni Collette), who is a hippie, depressed and suicidal mother. Marcus manages to kill a duck with a stale loaf of bread and Will steps in to help him out with the park keeper by saying the duck was already dead. On returning home they find Fiona, overdosed on pills. Marcus starts following Will and soon realises that he is single and childless, the complete opposite to how he introduced himself to the group. Marcus and Will, start hanging out at and they both begin to influence the others characters, Will becoming less shallow and Marcus coming more out of his shell.
I don't want to give a way too much of the plot, but it is worth watching just for the rendition of 'Killing Me Softly' near the end of the film.
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman
Toni Collette as Fiona Brewer
Rachel Weisz as Rachel
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer
Natalia Tena as Ellie
Sharon Small as Christine
This is a great film, adapted from an excellent book. Chris & Paul Weitz best known for American Pie, have adapted the novel to the big screen beautifully. Their direction shows a versatility of styles, the subtle comedy of scenes with Will & Marcus balances wonderfully with the serious subject of depression of Fionas character. The majority of Hugh Grants dialogue were his own ad-libbed one-liners. This really made the film for me and was a welcome departure from his usual floppy haired, bumbling, posh mister nice guy that he has become famous for. Another highlight was Nicholas Hoult in his cinematic debut, it could have been quite easy for the character of Marcus to go from one extreme to the other but throughout the film you can see both Marcus and Nicholas improve with confidence.
The film also features a great soundtrack from Badly Drawn Boy, worth getting the music as well as the film!!
About A Boy is a movie based on Nick Hornby's famous novel of the same title that was written by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz and also directed by the latter two, that was released back in April 2002.
Please note that this is a review of the film only.
Will is a nearly forty year old waster who has never had a job yet lives the life of a rich batchelor by creaming the royalties off his one hit wonder father's Christmas smash. Never having a long term relationship means Will is facing the prospect of growing old alone so his friends decide to do something and organise a blind date with a single mother. This is a turning point for Will as he decides single mothers are the way forward, and joins Single Parents Alone Together ("SPAT") as a way to meet future conquests.
In an unlikely sequence of events, Will befriends Marcus a twelve year old boy, who is intent on getting Will and his mother together so they can be one family unit. Will and Marcus' friendship develops and the two become close, and whilst things don't always go to plan the pair become inseparable and starts to look out for each other in everyday life.
Does Will, Marcus and become the family unit Marcus so desperately wants? Does Will grow old lonely? How does Will and Marcus' relationship really develop?
There are loads of characters in this movie, with the main ones being;
i) Will - Hugh Grant
ii) Marcus - Nicholas Hoult
iii) Christine - Sharon Small
iv) John - Nicholas Hutchinson
v) Fiona - Toni Collette
vi) Suzie - Victoria Smurfit
vii) Rachel - Rachel Weisz
This movie focuses on the above, all of whom do a great job, but they are backed up by a large cast of supporting actors/actresses. I don't think any of the supporting cast gave outstanding performances but they all did a more than adequate job.
I appreciate this movie has been around for years and I am the first to admit that it never really appealed to me, even though I had heard some good things about it. I am not a Hugh Grant fan and if I am going to watch a romantic comedy I can think of dozens of other actors I would prefer to see before Hugh. However, since this movie was being aired on terrestrial television over the festive period, and there was absolutely nothing else on, me and the other half sat there and watched it.
The story line of this is totally un-believable and would never happen, ever. In this day and age any fully grown man befriending such a young boy would be accused of a whole manner of things, but for a single man living the ultimate batchelor life, and allowing a child to visit him on a daily basis treat his flat as his would be unheard of. Any such man would be carted away and put on the lifelong sex offenders register after the first visit. Perhaps it is a shame that society has gone down this road, but it is weird right?
Forgetting any underlying "grooming" issues and the like, the story is actually quite endearing and it is fascinating how the relationship between Marcus and Will develops, despite them being brought together in such strange circumstances.
The acting is good and the onscreen relationship between Hugh and becomes very believable and it does tend to tug at the heart strings a bit. That said, I still thought it was quite weird. There are a few scenes that are very cringe worthy to watch, especially the stage scene at the school which I found particularly uncomfortable.
This movie contains no action, no special effects, no CGI, no scantily clad women, no fight scenes/blood, no swearing or any other such component that makes a film great, yet despite this I still found it very enjoyable. With Hugh being a 'Rom-com' man I thought there would have been a bit of comedy in this movie, but I don't recall any scenes that produced a chuckle, let alone a full on rib aching belly laugh. It does produce a smile but this is a result of the endearing storyline, not for the comedy element.
This movie rolls along at a slow and sedate pace but it still kept my attention throughout and I didn't start clock watching once.
About a Boy's soundtrack is by Badly Drawn Boy and it is great. The whole movie had a bit of an "indie/alternative" feel about it, even though the signature tune is more RnB, but the choice of music was more than appropriate and complemented the movie very well.
If you are looking for a fast action packed film then this is definitely not for you. It is not one for a boozy night in on a cold and snowy January evening with mates, however if you are looking for something to snuggle up on the sofa with the other half then this just may be what you're looking for.
Run time- 101 minutes
Certificate - 12
8 award wins, 19 nominations and nominated for an Oscar
The film version of Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy takes a deeper though no less entertaining approach than the easy laughs of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity. The "coming together" of idle playboy Will (Hugh Grant) and put-upon loner Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) is a revealing tale of self-understanding and role reversal. Will finds that being yourself is of little consequence without a defining human context, while Marcus finds that pleasing others counts for little without a degree of self-confidence. How they arrive at this complementary awareness is the intriguing subject matter of the film, involving well-meaning single mothers, difficult adolescents and helpless older adults. Yet there's a wider significance to all this in the guise of human stereotypes--how we fall into them and how we can try to get out of them. The film's wit and amusement comes down to deft and understated directing from Chris and Paul Weitz, and a snappily crafted screenplay from Peter Hedges and the Weitz brothers. Grant clips his hair as well as his vowels for a believable and ultimately sympathetic Will--by far his best performance since Four Weddings and a Funeral. As Marcus, Hoult is convincingly self-dependent, but could have been even more self-absorbed. Toni Colette is a dead-ringer for the well-meaning but ineffectual hippie mother Fiona, while Rachel Weisz gives her best screen performance to date as the attractive and vulnerable Rachel, with whom Will comes of age emotionally. Badly Drawn Boy's soundtrack will delight those who enjoy his brand of reconstituted 1970s Dylan; the title track has a wistful charm and there's a gem of an instrumental in the "Countdown" sequence. About a Boy is in the best traditions of British comedy: enlightening as it amuses, it's a film to enjoy and come back to. --Richard Whitehouse