I had an animated discussion about this movie recently and assumed I had written about it here at ‘Friday’s Finest‘. When About a Boy comes on cable I find myself compelled to watch it. I don’t know how many times I have seen it, but it’s a bucket load. I related a lot to Will, played by Hugh Grant because of my own circumstances and disposition. Will: ‘I am an island. I am bloody Ibiza!’.
There isn’t a scene in the film which I don’t enjoy watching. About a Boy constantly walks a tight rope constantly between witty and frivolous light comedy and serious drama. I think what I admire most about it, despite the fantastic performances and clever dialogue; is its salient message. And the movie delivers it in such a way as not to bludgeon the audience with ‘Dah, no man is an Island‘, but demonstrate through realistic and uncomfortable interactions (many of which are darkly funny) that we humans ARE social creatures. We require connection with other people even if some may be our polar opposite and be bothersome like 12-year-old Marcus is to Will.
Will, a rich, child-free and irresponsible Londoner in his thirties who, in search of available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single parent meetings. As a result of one of his liaisons, he meets Marcus, an odd 12-year-old boy with problems at school. Gradually, Will and Marcus become friends, and as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will to finally grow up.
About a Boy is an adaptation of the 1998 novel of the same name by Nick Hornby and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. With a budget of US$30 million, the film grossed a worldwide total of $130.5 million. On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 187 reviews, and an average rating of 7.7/10.
Actors Hugh Grant and Toni Collette were nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award, respectively, for their performances. When Toni followed this up after her immensely moving performance in The Sixth Sense (1999), I realised my fellow Australian was now in the big leagues. I also reviewed the movie Hereditary (2018) which she starred in and blew audiences away.
- The shot of Will reflected in the mirror when he is depressed was actually taken when Hugh Grant was taking a break. The directors noticed him doing this and from behind he looked depressed, so they shot it without him knowing.
- Brad Pitt turned down the lead role of Will Freeman on the grounds that it was implausible that someone so attractive would need to pretend to be a single father to meet women. He nevertheless appears in the film (sort of) – he is on the cover of an issue of “Esquire” magazine that Will is reading in his flat.
- As Will describes web-based research as a “unit of time” in his day, he types the URL supermodelswithseethroughtops.com. This is an active Web site, consisting of a picture of Pope John Paul II in his “Pope-mobile”.
- The quote “No man is an island” which Will jokingly attributes to Jon Bon Jovi, was actually written by John Donne in 1624, in his work “Meditation XVII”.
The scene I have presented below is one of many that make me chuckle called ‘A Depression free Life‘. Let me know what you thought of the movie. Thank you for reading.
1. About a Boy (Film) – Wikipedia
2. About a Boy – IMDB
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