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The Boys Are Back
The Boys Are Back
Actors: Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, George MacKay, Erik Thomson, Emma Booth
Director: Scott Hicks
Genres: Comedy, Drama
PG-13     2010     1hr 44min

Clive Owen delivers a critically acclaimed performance in THE BOYS ARE BACK, the heartwarming and uplifting drama about a man who is suddenly thrust into the role of single parent. Successful sportswriter Joe Warr (Owen) f...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, George MacKay, Erik Thomson, Emma Booth
Director: Scott Hicks
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Miramax Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/26/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Leah G. (Leahbelle) from GROVER BEACH, CA
Reviewed on 10/21/2012...
The acting in this movie, both by adults and children, was outstanding. There's some sadness in this story, but there is also joy and happiness and lots of love; not the mushy kind, the real kind, between family and friends.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed on 4/14/2012...
Enjoyable and a warm movie. Nothing spectacular though. I always enjoy Clive Owen in a decent role!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Great Performances Lift An Ordinary Story | Venice, CA United States | 11/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Boys Are Back", the new film directed by Scott Hicks ("Shine"), is a film that is "Based on a True Story". But as you watch it, you may ask yourself "What is so remarkable about this story that it warrants the big screen treatment?" In "Shine", we met an extraordinarily interesting man who we wanted to learn more about. A lot more. And Geoffrey Rush made the film all the better with his mesmerizing, star marking performance.

As you watch "Boys", you will probably answer the question I asked before with 'Nothing'.

"The Boys are Back" is the pretty common story of Joe Warr (Clive Owen), a British sportswriter who now lives and works in Australia, writing about sports for an Australian newspaper. He moved to Australia because he fell in love with his current wife and they had a child. Now a single parent, Joe finds himself trying to adapt to caring for his young son (played by Nicholas McAnulty). After a bit of time mourning and learning to care for his young son, he gets a call from his older son, Harry (George MacKay) who lives in England, with his mom, Joe's first wife. He wants to come and visit. Initially, Joe is a bit amazed at the timing, but realizes he and his older son must have some needs that aren't being met. Joe soon finds himself the adult in a household gone mad, but this is how he prefers it; there are few rules and even less discipline and he hopes this will allow for the ultimate amount of bonding, healing and love. There are complications, but these only serve to push everyone closer together.

There is really nothing remarkable about the story behind "The Boys Are Back"; single father has to adjust and begin caring for his two sons. In fact, if the parent were a mom, this would make the perfect material for a Lifetime Channel movie. A bad Lifetime Channel movie. But because the director is Scott Hicks and he is working with Clive Owen, an actor who is clearly at the top of his game, and two young actors who are really quite amazing, the film becomes extraordinary and moving and memorable.

Owen makes the role of Joe Warr seem effortless, as though he is a British ex-pat living in Australia, working for a major newspaper as a sports writer. It all starts with the few scenes we watch between Joe and his wife. Joe is clearly in love and misses every moment he is away. It is even more shocking for us as we watch him react to her suddenly dropping to the floor and our heartbreaks as Joe cares for his ailing wife. Owen is playing a fairly common guy so it seems even more remarkable that he is able to make the performance seem so good. As he watches his wife die, he realizes his young son may need some help coping, but the little guy seems like any other young kid; unaware of the problem and the severity of what is going on.

As Owen portrays this character, we understand his struggles and the problems he is experiencing. He receives a call from his first son, who wants to come and visit from England. The look on Joe's face says it all. This is not a good time and he really wants to tell him that, but how do you tell your son that? So, he agrees to the visit. Soon, Joe and Artie arrive at the airport to meet Henry.

As soon as Henry arrives, he instantly realizes there is a certain distance between them and is unsure how to close this. He decides to let everything be a little more natural and hopes the bonding will come with time.

As Joe deals with this situation, trying to deal with his own grief while trying to help Artie deal with the death of his mom, trying to reconnect with his older son, trying to be a dad, he decides to let them do what they want. They run through the house, play, eat what they want when they want, it is heaven for them.

Joe attracts the attention of a single mom and she starts to come over, bringing her daughter to play with Artie. While she is attracted to Joe, and admires his parenting style, she can't help but comment about the state of his house (which quickly becomes filthy) and his ability to avoid addressing any sort of disciplinary issues.

These very same qualities serve to alarm Joe's mother-in-law. She completely disapproves of the way he is handling her grandson's upbringing and wants to take him in. Joe flat our refuses.

"The Boys Are Back" is about how Joe deals with his two sons. And Clive Owen is great, but without equally convincing performances from the two sons the film would not work. Thankfully, the two child actors are great.

George McKay plays Henry, Joe's son from his first marriage. As soon as he enters this new household, his eyes open wide, taking in the wild abandon in which Artie, his younger half-brother behaves. It is like he is experiencing true childhood for the first time. He immediately adapts and falls into this life style. As the story continues, we learn he was studying at a strict prep school and we understand what is going on. We understand why he loves this new environment so much.

And Nicholas McAnulty plays Joe's younger son, Artie. From the moment we realize Joe's wife is going to die, Artie continues to run around and play, flying a model airplane as he careens through the house. He is too young to understand what is happening and just does what comes naturally. As his father adjusts with his new life as a full time parent, Artie isn't beyond letting his displeasure known (Joe makes a late trip to the supermarket to get some dinner and we watch Artie standing a few yards away putting because he is hungry) and seems even more frustrated because he can't express his feelings.

The movie is better because Clive Owen goes to great lengths to make his portrayal of new full time dad Joe very convincing, But the two kids playing his sons are equally convincing and help take "The Boys Are Back" to a new level.

There is a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding Owen's performance. And it is richly deserved; he is that good. And because the film basically tells the story of a normal guy coping with a death, the fact it is so memorable is even more remarkable."
A chic flick for guys
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The essence of THE BOYS ARE BACK is "fatherhood", i.e. what it means to be a Dad. It's an absolutely lovely film absolutely worth seeing.

Joe Warr (Clive Owen) suddenly finds himself a single father when his young wife Katy (Laura Fraser) precipitously dies of intestinal cancer. Joe, the lead and oft-on-the-road sportswriter for Melbourne's major newspaper, must now connect with his six-year old son Artie (Nicholas McAnulty). Coming to visit from England is his 14-year old son from a previous marriage, Harry (George MacKay), whom Joe pretty much abandoned to his first wife years before on their divorce.

THE BOYS ARE BACK is about male bonding - father with motherless son, father with fatherless son, brother with half-brother. In this clubhouse, the women, whether it be Joe's mother-in-law Barbara (Julia Blake) or potential new significant-other Laura (Emma Booth), are almost intruders.

Filmed mostly on Australia's striking south coast and with a soundtrack featuring haunting songs by Iceland's Sigur Rós, this film contains what is perhaps Clive Owen's finest and most nuanced performance to date. I wouldn't be surprised if Owen is nominated for an Oscar for this role, which is the best by a male actor I've seen in 2009.

Too often, I think, the societal presumption is that children of marriages broken by death or divorce are better off with mothers, that fathers are somehow less loving and less skilled at parenting. At least in this must-see film, that is emphatically not the case.

I left the screening keen on THE BOYS ARE BACK more than I can adequately express.

P.S. 1/21/2010 Now that 2009 is finished, I must say that Owen's performance, while not THE best of 2009, is one of three best, joining Morgan Freeman of INVICTUS and Jeff Bridges of CRAZY HEART. Good company, that."
Clive Owens Goes Hallmark
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/31/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If Clive Owens accepted the role of Joe Warr (based on the autobiography of Simon Carr) as an attempt to break away from his type casting as a blood and thunder action hero, he at least proved that he is able to step beyond his usual screen presence. Though the story of a happily married sports writer to a beautiful young second wife Katy (Laura Fraser), enjoying their one child Artie (Nicholas McAnulty), who abruptly becomes a single parent when Katy dies from metastatic carcinoma, placing him in the uncomfortable position of becoming a single parent, is not unique among the tearful novels that have also made their way to the screen, this film survives on the quality of the cast. Not only does Joe have to overcome the treacherous terrain of tending to housekeeping along with the tenuous gap that occurs when a parent dies and the remaining parent must tend to the grief of the remaining child, but he also must cope with the young Harry (George McKay), his son by his first marriage in England (his second family is in Australia) who feels deserted and asks to come to live with Joe and his half brother Artie. The film lingers over the madness of a household of males, tinkers with tricky problems with inlaws and his exwife, but in the end the message is that with 'growth' on the parts of each of the three males in the tale, happiness is possible.

The film's intent is admirable and the cast of characters selected to portray these people - Owens shows real potential as a serious dramatic actor, George McKay is particularly excellent as the elder son - is very well selected. The film is long, and could be easily edited without altering the impact of the story. Director Scott Hicks allows the film to become predictable and overly saccharine: less could definitely have been more. But it is a good evening's entertainment. And Clive Owens CAN do Hallmark-type films for TV! Grady Harp, January 10"