December Boys (2007) (Australia)

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December Boys (2007) (Australia)

Postby hengcs » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:47 am



Director: Rod Hardy
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Lee Cormie, Christian Byers, James Fraser

Synopsis:
Based on the novel by the same title, it tells the coming of age story of 4 boys who were given a chance for vacation with a family during December, the month of their birthday ...

My thoughts:

What I like ...

-- The songs ... rather nostalgic of those earlier days ... esp. the last song near the end, and the two songs in the ending credits ...

-- The last half an hour ... it becomes rather meaningful and touching ... for the earlier one and half hour, some of us may hope the pace pick up a bit ... but of course if you love the idyllic lifestyle with little plot, you may enjoy the film still ...

-- The 4 kids ... WOW ... let me say this -- if only they were given a more powerful script (like Stand By Me), I think they will be very well known by now. IMHO, they can all act, but I guess the script is not engaging enough to draw us all in and find them memorable enough ...

-- Nice cinematography ... by the sea ...

What can be better

-- The script and tightening of the pace ... IMHO, you do not need to have an idle pace to depict an idyllic life on screen ...


Conclusion:
Can watch, esp. the last half an hour or so. To me, that was the saving grace for the entire film ... For the first one and half hour, it will only appeal to those who reminisce about their laid back life or their younger days of whiling time away ... but the last half an hour, it is interesting and it touches ...
hengcs
 


Re: December Boys (2007) (Australia)

Postby justindeimen » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:28 am

I had the opposite reaction. I thought the entire back-end was ridiculously manipulative.

Review:

Sexual awakenings and the yearning for a place to call home form the crux of this films peddling of maudlin adolescent nostalgia. If the December Boys had found itself being pruned of its prattle, maybe the coming-of-age blueprint set in the 1960s Australian seaside would have been efficient, perhaps even charming. As it were, the films frustrating penchant for overly wistful, precious storytelling encumbers its December-born orphans from being anything more than self-pitying and depressive.

Harry Potter! As youve never seen him could have been the films de facto tagline, if it wasnt just so egregiously tacky. So aware of its marketing import, Daniel Radcliffes much-ado-about-nothing onscreen deflowering is self-consciously acted upon, a performance riding on perception, but in the process rendering its key scene unremarkable to the films few overriding semblances of a conflicted juvenile psyche. Further obfuscating its genuine moments of emotional clarity, are its exaggerated religious overtones and witless representations of sexual desire. Visions from the Virgin Mary and brazen young women (also hinting at the films cavalier idealisations of females) intermittently litter the aching sense of longing that its best scenes imply.

The four-strong pack of orphans that are sent to live with a retired naval officer and his wife for the summer in Lady Star Cove is led by the oldest, Maps (Radcliffe), and his precocious younger lieutenant as well as the films wizened narrator, Misty (Lee Cormie). Away from the reality of the convent, they begin to existentialise their dilemmas being raised without a family or even without a core sense of identity. This doesnt worry Maps as much as it does Misty, even though the age difference between them span just a few years, it does relate considerably in terms of any impending adoption or more pointedly, the burgeoning transition into adulthood during this short period of time.

Though partly concerned with Maps's escalated coming-of-age during this eventful summer, December Boys expands its purview to include a more disquietingly bizarre imagining of magical-realist visions by seer-like Misty a decision that ironically amplifies the familiar skew of the rest of its proceedings. Yet more enduring than its rather slushy portrayal of maturation is the films final images, a stamp that reinforces its own commitment to be as conventional and manipulatively cloying as it can possibly hope to be.
justindeimen
 

Re: December Boys (2007) (Australia)

Postby hengcs » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:24 pm

Quote justindeimen, "I had the opposite reaction. I thought the entire back-end was ridiculously manipulative."

hee hee ...

it depends on what you compare the ending with ...
i think the ending is the "saving grace" because I compare the front with the end (as opposed to this film and other coming of age film).

based on this film alone, I think the front end is not very engaging ... and if it had ended in a less manipulative way, the whole film will have no selling point, being a rather uneventful/plotless film ... to some extent, I agree it is manipulative ... but it at least brings out several food for thoughts ...

* possible spoiler * ...

e.g., all along, they had a "family", and it was not necessary to find another family ...

e.g., even though three of them try to compete for the adoption, they still bless the successful one ... that's what i call BOND ...

e.g., the scene whereby the young kid tried to fish, and the old man was terribly worried ...

e.g., unlike many films who depict girls from earlier days as always being conservative, this young girl is rather "proactive" in her demands and desire ...

etc

* end of possible spoiler * ...

At least we agree on one point, that the film is not very great ... note i used the words "can watch" as opposed to "above average" or "recommended" ... hee hee ... Compared to many other films about coming of age, this film is unlikely to become a classic ... Kind of sad, because I think the 4 kids can act ... they are just not given the role of their life ...
hengcs
 


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