So, the last two days were pretty action orientated (to say the least) in Lethal Weapon and Die Hard, so I decided to balance it out with a Hugh Grant rom com that isn’t really a rom com. It gets on the list by ending at Christmas, having one pivotal festive scene, and a cracking Christmas song.
And today it’s…
11th November, Day 12
About A Boy (Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz, 2002)
Nick Hornby had incredible success with the film adaptations of his books Fever Pitch (the original version at least) and High Fidelity. Both managed to be retain the original charm of the books whilst being films that work on their own terms. The third film based on his work was About A Boy, which has Hugh Grant as Will Freeman, a man living a life of leisure off the back of a Christmas song written by his father. One day he stumbles over the idea of dating single mothers as a way of having short term relationships with low expectations and an easy out.
He goes to SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together!) as a way of meeting new women. Will has a connection with one of the women Suzie (Victoria Smurfit), and creates a fictional child as a way of meeting her again. Suzie brings along Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) the son of a friend, on their date. They have a good time, but when they return home, Marcus’s mother Fiona (Toni Collette) has attempted suicide.
After she has been released from hospital, Marcus attempts to set up Fiona and Will, but they are obviously incompatible to everyone apart from Marcus. Marcus follows Will one day and realises that the Will’s child is entirely fictional. They end up spending a lot of time together, and Marcus and Will form a weird bond over Countdown and sandwiches. Their friendship gets stronger, and when they both meet women (Rachel Weisz and Natalia Tena respectively) they want to impress, they find that they can really help each other.
About A Boy was probably the first High Grant film that I took him seriously in. The foppish, curtain haired gentleman of his earlier films is replaced by an actual bastard! When he takes Fiona and Marcus to a restaurant, they explain that they are vegetarians, and without a seconds thought he orders a steak sandwich. He lives his life totally on his own terms, until Marcus comes into his life. His idea of “everyman is an island” works well for him, and why wouldn’t it?
Toni Collette is brilliant (obviously) and Nicholas Hoult gave a real breakout performance here. There mother-son relationship is touchingly real, and both of them hold their own. There are a few hilarious moments in the film as well, with Marcus killing a duck when trying to feed it some of his mother’s homemade bread being an absolute highlight.
One of Hugh Grant’s best films, and genuinely heart warming, with a fantastic soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.
Overall, I give this
I need to get off this 4 out of 5 score! It was a film release in April, but still works well as a Christmas film.
So I’ve got a couple of 90’s American films coming up, with the Snooty Usher Dave-approved TRAPPED IN PARADISE with Nic Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far:
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
PPS There’ a really good Christmas song by Badly Drawn Boy over the end credits, but it’s too early to start posting them, even for me, so instead, here’s the theme song to the TV remake (which had a good first season but then fizzled out)