Wednesday, May 16, 2012


In the 2008 film Son of Rambow, young Will lost his father to a stroke in the recent past and he fantasizes that he can somehow rescue him from death and make the world right again.

When he’s thrown together with school troublemaker Lee Carter in a fishbowl-breaking incident, the boys unexpectedly hit it off.  Will’s family belongs to a religious group called “The Brethren” which strives to isolate its members from the influence of popular culture, partly by forbidding television or films of any kind.  Will is quiet, shy, always an outsider who at first obediently accepts that he's not allowed to participate in the things the other schoolchildren do. Outwardly, Lee seems to be everything Will is not— aggressive, confident, disobedient, rude. But he’s making a movie to submit to a “Young Filmmakers” competition, and he discovers that Will is a great partner in crime, willing to do any crazy, dangerous stunt Lee can imagine. For his part, Will finds an eager audience for his heroic fantasies, and a window into the world forbidden by his religion.

This is a movie about true friendship and growing up. Both boys share a deep loneliness and alienation from the adult world which they bridge together, through their friendship and through their film-making. Son of Rambow is not schmaltzy and Disneyfied—on top of both kids’ emotional and psychological issues, there’s a bit of ‘adult’ language and a couple of intense scenes when the boys are in life-threatening danger. Nevertheless, I would consider this a quality family movie for many 5th or 6th graders on up.

Son of Rambow played at several film festivals, including Sundance, and, according to Wikipedia, made the top ten list of several film critics for the year 2008.

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