2009 104 minutes
Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, George McKay
Directed by Scott Hicks, Adapted by Allan Cubitt from the Novel by Simon Carr
*** out of ****
We've seen the movie about a man suddenly thrust into single parenthood many times before. The Boys are Back does two key things differently: It is extraordinarily well-shot, taking full advantage of the scenic possibilities of its Australian coastal setting, and it does not attempt to portray its protagonist (Clive Owen) as a buffoon or a hero. He is simply a flawed but decent man slapped into a situation he is not ready for. This approach is refreshingly realistic (and it should be considering this is based on a true story). The Boys are Back also deftly explores the effect of divorce on children, and the conflict does not feel contrived in the least. Performances are solid all around. The kids seem to be playing actual children instead of badly written adults in child bodies, so often the case in this sort of film, and Owen (who also produced the film) turns in his expectantly solid work. It is nice to enjoy a film made for adults that actually assumes most adults are not slobbering, sentimental idiots.