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  Publicity Stills of "December Boys"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Drama
Director: Rod Hardy
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Christian Byers, Lee Cormie, James Fraser, Teresa Palmer, Jack Thompson, Kris McQuade, Suzie Wilks, Victoria Hill, Sullivan Stapleton
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16 (Some Nudity and Sexual References)
Official Website: www.decemberboys.com

Opening Day: 15 November 2007


One summer, four orphans boys who have grown to be the closest of friends find themselves competing for the attention of the same family.

Movie Review:

Sexual awakenings and the yearning for a place to call home form the crux of this film’s 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 film’s frustrating penchant for overly wistful, precious storytelling encumbers its December-born orphans from being anything more than self-pitying and depressive.

“Harry Potter! As you’ve never seen him…” could have been the film’s de facto tagline, if it wasn’t just so egregiously tacky. So aware of its marketing import, Daniel Radcliffe’s 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 film’s 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 film’s 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 film’s 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 doesn’t 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 film’s final images, a stamp that reinforces its own commitment to be as conventional and manipulatively cloying as it can possibly hope to be.

Movie Rating:

(Dull and excessively mawkish, it could have done with more focus)

Review by Justin Deimen


. Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix (2007)

. The Italian (2007)

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