Quirky and Endearing.
Zeek | Lancaster, PA USA | 02/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Set during the time Rambo ruled supreme in the box office, Son of Rambow is a quirky little film that leaves me clueless as to who I would recommend it too.
Raised in a strict religious community in England, Will hides his inner world of wild imagination quite well from his mother.
Despite the fact he's fairly cloistered from the outside world, he attends a secular school. While at school, because of The Brethren's belief system, he gets sent out into the hallway every time a teacher uses the telly in class or shows a movie. On one such day, while doodling in his private art book, another boy, Lee Carter, is sent into the hallway a few classrooms down. Only this boy is kicked out of class because he's a troublemaker. Though Will does his best to hide from Lee, the naughty boy draws him out and causes more trouble for both of them.
During a bizarre twist of events, the two boys end up playing together for the afternoon, with Will assisting Lee Carter in making a movie to enter into a local young film makers contest. Thus begins an odd friendship that will take young Will out of his stifling world and expose his imagination to the outside, helping him face the death of a parent and the normal fears of growing up.
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like Lee Carter. Seemed too much a brat to me and he didn't really treat Will all too well. But as they warm up to each other, things reverse as Will gets so wrapped up in the film making he forgets who his friends truly are. Eventually I found myself warming up to Lee and in the end I liked him just as much as the sensitive Will, perhaps more.
What I enjoyed most about this movie was the way the boys opened up each others' imagination, thus making them better people. (Particularly Will. That he could break free from such stricture and in turn free his family... it just melts my heart.)
Son of Rambow is a surprisingly touching coming of age film that probably won't appeal to others as much as I. Still, if you like a quirky bit of foreign film like me- give it a try!
Quaint, and perfect for those who grew up in the 80s
B. Lindsey | 08/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw the first trailers for Son of Rambow, I couldn't wait to see it. Unfortunately Portland never gets these limited releases, so I was forced to await the eventual DVD release. Now that the DVD is out and I've digested the movie, I've come away with some more mixed feelings than I anticipated.
Don't get me wrong: Son of Rambow is a fantastic movie. For the right crowd. Centering around two young lads with a desire to remake the Stallone classic themselves, the movie has an unquestionable charm and presence which will make any audience go "Awwww!" in appreciation. Unfortunately, outside of the charm a good majority of the humor and connectedness with the characters is achieved only by two audiences: men old enough to remember when Rambo came out, and children young enough to relate to the two protagonists, Will and Lee.
For the rest of us, the movie is an entertaining ride with a fresh outlook on friendship and a nice heartwarming attitude, but not quite the comedy juggernaut one might suppose from the pre-release trailers.
Even for the 15-25 crowd, however, Son of Rambow is still a good, solid film if you're willing to see it for what it is. Like Bridge to Terabithia, Son of Rambow mixes several genres and morality lessons together throughout the entertainment. (Although there's nothing quite as sad as the twist in Bridge...) It has surprisingly deep messages for a movie about two younger boys, which completely go against the shallow appearance on the surface.
While it's obviously a tale of friendship, the lessons under the skin of the movie are relevant for all ages and people, regardless of time, locale, or culture. And while those in the 15-25 crowd may not have as many laughs as the younger or older audiences, there's still no denying the fact that Son of Rambow offers an invigorating reminder of the power of imagination, and the challenges of growing up.
Content - 3.5/5
What you get out of Son of Rambow depends entirely on who you are, and how close you are to the culture/age of the two protagonists. The 15-25 crowd may see a heartwarming tale of friendship with some underlying lessons, while an older and younger crowd will f ind much more laughs. No matter which grouping you belong to, expect a unique movie with a refreshing take on friendship, and two very promising young actors.
Video - 3/5
I can't tell if I'm spoiled by Blu-Ray or not, but the colors seem to reflect more of the amateur nature of the kids' film and less of a real modern movie. While it certainly adds to the effect, it takes away slightly more than it gives, drawing you out of the moment from time to time.
Audio - 4/5
While there's 5.1 audio and some nice post production present, many of the sound effects rely too heavily on the front speakers, creating an overbalanced feel. The dialogue and other audio factors are all spot-on, but the front-heavy sfx can also draw you out of the moment if you're utilizing 5.1 speakers (or a 5.1 headset) while watching.
Replay - 4.5/5
It's one of those movies you could watch time and time again with new people. The humor may get old and lose "the funny" after a few watchings, but the core tale is more than enough to ensure that this will be a cult classic for many years, and a favorite of many young boys and teens to come.
Overall - 4/5
Watching Son of Rambow is like playing darts on a jumbo sized target. No matter where you throw the dart you're going to hit the board, but some people are going to be much closer to the bullseye than others. The humor and amount of funny moments in the movie directly relates to your age and gender, but no matter which gender you are and when you were born, the tale of friendship, growing up, and the overpowering effect of a youth's imagination offers something anyone can relate to."
Much to like, some detractions
N. B. Kennedy | Hopewell, NJ USA | 05/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I would enjoy this movie more than I did, especially because I grew up in a Plymouth Brethren household. And, I love all things British.
This is a story of a young boy finding his way in a world that has not been allowed into his fundamentalist home and of his budding friendship with another boy from a more permissive home. Having gotten an illicit look at the movie Rambo at his friend's house, the boy decides to film his own action movie. The children's imaginative play when they're filming their movie is fun to watch.
It's a fine movie for the most part, but I found a few things hindered my enjoyment. First, if you have a child, especially a boy, it can be hard to watch the escapades of the children. One in particular almost results in the death of a child, and I couldn't watch that.
Also, the Plymouth Brethren household the boy grows up in is ridiculously repressive. I've been in strict PB households and they're nothing like that. Maybe it's different in the British Isles. I've been to Brethren church services there, though, and haven't found that to be so. If the church had been portrayed more realistically, the story would have drawn me in more. As it is, the unbending adults just came across as pawns in the director's plot.
I would also suggest you don't let young children watch the movie, both for the scenes of chaos (they don't need any more ideas!) and for some overly realistic scenes with older teenagers. The pace would be too slow for my child, anyway.
For a more engaging portrayal of a fundamentalist family, drawn with its warmth as well as its faults, you might read Portofino: A Novel (Calvin Becker Trilogy) by Frank Schaeffer. This story of a missionary family's vacations in Italy is narrated from the point of view of the son and is hilarious, whatever your upbringing."