They share the same birth month, so the orphanage calls them December Boys. But these teens â?" Maps, Spit, Spark and Misty â?" have much more in common. With no hopes of ever joining a family, they form their own familial... more » bonds. Then the unexpected news comes that a young couple may adopt one of them, and the long-time pals suddenly share something else: a rivalry to be the chosen one.« less
Not impressed with this movie. Don't waste your time even though Harry Potter is in it.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
B Doris D. (Frenchie300) from DETROIT, MI Reviewed on 12/9/2013...
This is possibly the best coming of age film I have ever watched. Yes, it has some shortcomings, but it is the plot that stays with you.
Nina E. Reviewed on 2/3/2013...
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DECEMBER BOYS is a fine little Australian film based on the novel by Michael Noonan (to whom the film is dedicated), adapted for the screen by Marc Rosenberg, and directed by Rod Hardy, and while the story takes place in the 1960s, it remains warmly contemporary in its message. And for once it presents the good side of orphanages, rather than the Dickens view.
In the Australian outback there is an orphanage run by nuns, a spot in the dry country where the arid landscape flattens everything until an occasional storm provides temporary lakes for fishing and playing. Four young lads are bonded not only by the fact that they are orphans dues to various sad reasons, but they all have birthdays in December - Maps (Daniel Radcliffe), Misty (Lee Cormie, Sparks (Christian Byers), and Spit (James Fraser. Fearing for retribution for their smoking and other mild infractions at the orphanage they are called into the headmaster's office where they discover that a benefactor has decided to give the orphan boys a holiday each year. The four lads are to spend time with a family at a tiny ocean cove setting. Delighted, they are off to meet their family - Bandy (Jack Thompson) and his wife Skipper (Kris McQuade) - who live in a small shack beside a few other neighbors. The world seems to have opened to the boys and each finds first time joy in living - fishing from neighbor Shellback's (Ralph Cotterill) old boat, riding a motorcycle with neighbor Fearless (Sullivan Stapleton), spying on the nude bathing wife of Fearless, Theresa (Victoria Hill), and finding first love with the young, seductive Lucy (Teresa Palmer). The boys are in heaven until Misty overhears Fearless and Theresa bemoaning their childless marriage and plan to adopt on of the boys. Challenges occur in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways: who will be the chosen 'son'? The manner in which the answer is decided opens a whole new meaning to the concept of family.
The cast is ingratiating and the settings and the music are lovely. The supporting cast of nuns and priest (Frank Gallacher, Judi Farr, Carmel Johnson) are particularly fine. The screenplay fails to fully investigate the motivations of all of the characters and there remain holes in the plot line that could have easily been remedied: symbolism in the form of a wild stallion, a huge fish named Henry, and surreal appearances of the Virgin Mary become a bit obscure. But despite these flaws (and an ending, or epilogue, that is pure corny Hollywood), DECEMBER BOYS is heartwarming and a fine movie for the entire family. Recommended. Grady Harp, December 07 "
S. K. Harrell | NC | 12/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poorly promoted as "Harry Potter's break out film", December Boys was a gorgeous film to watch, its story sad and compelling. Anyone with an affection for the beauty that is Kangaroo Island will appreciate the stunning scenery in the film. I have not read the book, and apparently the story in the film is a radical departure from its source literature. The setting is the 1960s Oz Outback, an orphanage housing 4 boys ranging in age from 9-16, all of whom were born in the month of December (though they don't know their birth dates). When a special donation is made to the orphanage, all 4 boys are taken on their first excursion to the sea, where the rumor awaits that one of them will be adopted by a family there. Having been best friends all their lives, the boys spend the summer competing for the family's affection. The obvious pressure of being scrutinized and inevitably separated so that one of them can gain a family is hard to watch. The added experiences of the change in environment and meeting new people lightens the mood, though bring new hardships, as well. The narrative is the memory of one of the younger boys, Misty. I enjoyed the interjections of Misty's young lucid mind having shaped his interpretation of events without the adult clarity to fully process them. Along that vein I loved how it wasn't always evident how Misty's imagination was interpreting events, as the film blurred odd surrealistic visuals.
All said this film was an excellent next move for an emerging child-to-adult actor. Radcliffe did well in it. He does restrained emotion very well, which allows viewers to be involved in the story but keep an emotional detachment from its progress. In that respect, the film isn't over dramatized. It accomplishes allowing viewers to identify with each of the boys without being sentimental, which I think shows the craft of the writing and direction more than any other facet of the film. It's clearly a very sad and traumatic time, in the adult mind watching it. But for the young ones living it it's just... life, a time that when processed later as adults, they realized how pivotal it was.
I must say that I was not impressed with the portrayal of the femme fatale character in the film, who was the love interest of the eldest boy, Maps. The story gave no indication for [i]why[/i] she behaved as she did. I felt that part of the story needed to be told in order for me to have any sympathy for her. There was an air of things not being quite right in her personal life, but without it being rooted more firmly and evidently into the main arc of Maps, she just came across two-dimensional.
No, it's not a blockbuster, and I see now why it was never promoted as such. It is what it is--an indie film whose subtle artfulness would go the wayside for many mainstream audiences. I was, however, struck by the fact that a lot of people who would otherwise find Radcliffe to be narrow in his skills will not see this film; thus, it will take him even longer to break out of that HP type to which the general public and industry holds him."
Wonderful warm adventure tale
James FInch | Avesbury UK | 12/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow- what a movie. This will be a classic for years to come. Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is wonderful and the resulting outcome is truly heart felt moment.
Poignant coming of age story
z hayes | TX | 12/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason I rented this movie was because Daniel Radcliffe [of Harry Potter fame] was in it, but there are other stand-out performances in this tender coming of age story about four orphans who over the course of a summer circa 1960s, discover what being a family truly means.
The four orphans are in an orphanage run by a band of Catholic nuns and have sort of resigned themselves to the fact that they may never be adopted due to their ages. One day, they are called in to the head's office, and think they are about to be punished for misbehaving, but it turns out that being "December boys", i.e. born in December, they are to receive a treat of spending a summer by the seaside, a dream come true for four sheltered Outback boys who have been bred on a steady diet of boiled lamb.
They are taken in by a kind couple and find themselves getting well-acquainted with the other inhabitants of the idyllic cove - in particular, the oldest boy Maps [Daniel Radcliffe] develops a crush on an older girl, Lucy [Teresa Palmer] who initiates his sexual awakening. The boys are also drawn to a young couple, a motorcycle stunt performer Fearless [Sullivan Stapleton] and his beautiful French wife, Teresa [Victoria Hill]. Soon, a rivalry develops between the boys when one of them, Misty [Lee Cormie] finds out that the couple is keen on adopting one of them.
The acting is above average for all the characters, in particular, Maps [Daniel Radcliffe] and Misty [Lee Cormie]. Both these characters are well-developed - Misty's intense yearning to finally be part of a real family, with a dad and mom comes across as genuine and heartrending in his portrayal. His deviousness is also credibly portrayed, as he tries to outshine his 'brothers' in appearing to be the best choice.
Maps is a well-drawn character - here is a young adolescent who always puts on a brave front, the leader of the band of brothers, the oldest of the pack, but who is also very vulnerable, especially when he suffers an unexpected 'loss' towards the latter part of the movie. His sexual awakening at the hands of the lustful Lucy is not overly sexed-up but subtly and beautifully done.
The soundtrack is simply beautiful with the songs staying with me long after the credits rolled. And the cinematography of the scenic South Australian seascape is just breathtaking. This may seem a tad sentimental to some, but it struck a chord within me and I highly recommend it."
K. Messick | Maryland | 03/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great film, and I think I will like it even more once I read the book. I agree with another viewer, that I think some of the characters need more explanation to understand them.
Daniel Radcliffe shines as Maps, the eldest orphan of the four boys. He brings both powerful emotion, and heartwarming scenes to the movie."