Saturday, January 14, 2017

An Offbeat & Funny Coming of Age Story

Every once in a while, I like to champion a little known film which may have escaped the notice of most viewers. This time out, I'm recommending a little movie called Son of Rambow (2007), a film by writer-director Garth Jennings & producer Nick Goldsmith, who also teamed up for the big screen version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in 2005. Son of Rambow is the story of two British school kids: Lee Carter, the requisite bad boy, and Will Proudfoot, a quieter and more introverted young man, whose family belongs to a strict religious sect called the Plymouth Brethren. Due to his family’s beliefs, Will is not allowed to watch TV or see movies. When the two boys become friends after being thrown together by circumstance, Lee invites Will to star in a movie he’s making, inspired by First Blood (1982), the first appearance of RamboAfter seeing the Sylvester Stallone action film at Lee's house, Will agrees to participate in the project.

Bill Milner & Will Poulter in Son of Rambow
The two boys work on the film using video equipment they secretly borrow from Lee’s older brother, who’s something of a bully. Will hides their activities from his widowed mother, who’s struggling with her decision to leave the Brethren, and start a better life for her family. The boys' ideas for the movie become even more ambitious, and the rest of the school, including some French exchange students, become involved in the project. Lee intends to enter the finished movie in a young filmmaker’s competition. As their friendship grows stronger, both Will & Lee will find themselves tested as their personal lives interfere with the film they're making. Both boys must grow up a lot faster than they thought. Can their friendship survive this experience? Will the movie get finished, and will anyone get the chance to see it?

Son of Rambow is a charming, likable story with a gentle and quirky sense of humor. In some ways, you can compare this film to the character driven, whimsical stories of director Bill Forsyth, who wrote & directed Gregory’s Girl (1981) and Local Hero (1983)Son of Rambow is a coming of age story that has some laughs, a few tears, but manages leaves you smiling at the end. The movie gives you a real sense of the 1980s timeframe in which its set, with believable and relatable characters. The cast is very good, with Will Poulter as Lee and Bill Milner as Will giving wonderful performances. I highly recommend checking out this film, which is based on writer-director Jennings and producer Goldsmiths own childhood experiences in the 1980s. This is one of those "under the radar" type of films you'll definitely enjoy, and find yourself recommending to friends after seeing it. Son of Rambow is available on DVD. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnVt0tqT7YQ.

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