7.1/10
175,380
439 user 155 critic

About a Boy (2002)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 17 May 2002 (USA)
A cynical, immature young man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.

Directors:

Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

Writers:

Nick Hornby (novel), Peter Hedges (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
2,710 ( 108)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Grant ... Will Freeman
Nicholas Hoult ... Marcus Brewer
Sharon Small ... Christine
Madison Cook Madison Cook ... Imogen
Jordan Cook Jordan Cook ... Imogen
Nicholas Hutchison Nicholas Hutchison ... John
Ryan Speechley Ryan Speechley ... Barney
Joseph Speechley Joseph Speechley ... Barney
Toni Collette ... Fiona Brewer
Natalia Tena ... Ellie (as Nat Gastiain Tena)
Laura Kennington Laura Kennington ... Ellie's Friend
Tanika Swaby Tanika Swaby ... Ellie's Friend
Peter McNicholl Peter McNicholl ... Ellie's Friend
Chris Webster ... Ellie's Friend (as Christopher Webster)
Ben Ridgeway Ben Ridgeway ... Lee
Edit

Storyline

Twelve year old Marcus Brewer lives with his chronically depressed single mother, Fiona Brewer. Both Fiona and Marcus beat to their own respective drummers. Marcus will do whatever he can to make his depressed mother happy, even if it causes himself grief. As such, he realizes that he is perceived as different than most kids, as even the self-professed weird kids don't want to hang out with him as he is the target of bullying. Part of the taunts against him are the fact that he sings and speaks to himself without even realizing that he is doing it. Meanwhile, thirty-eight year old Will Freeman is a slacker who has lived comfortably off the royalties of a song written by his deceased father, and as such has never had to work a day in his life. He is a solitary man who places himself as the first and only priority in life. He comes across the idea that dating single moms meets his selfish carnal needs. It is in this capacity that Will meets Marcus, as one of Will's single mother ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Growing up has nothing to do with age.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the television programs Will and Marcus is seen watching is Xena: Warrior Princess (1995). See more »

Goofs

As Rachel is cleaning up for Will and Marcus, she picks up a wine glass about half full, but when she sets it down, it is empty. See more »

Quotes

Marcus: I'll come if you take my mom, too. She hasn't got any money, so either we'll have to go somewhere cheap, or you'll have to treat us.
Will: Well, listen, don't beat about the bush, Marcus.
Marcus: Why should I? We're poor, you're rich, you pay. You can bring your little boy if you like. I don't mind.
Will: That's really big of you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK airings on ITV2 cut out all the profanity and swearing to make a clean film language-wise. When the film appeared on Film4 in pre-watershed airings a large chunk of the profanity was retained save for the stronger words and certain phrases. See more »


Soundtracks

Walking Out Of Stride
By Badly Drawn Boy (as Gough)
Performed by Badly Drawn Boy
Courtesy of XL Recordings Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

a sterling comic gem
8 June 2002 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

I think I smiled all the way through `About a Boy,' a comic near-masterpiece derived from the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby. For the sake of accuracy, both the novel and the film should more rightly be titled `About TWO Boys,' since the story focuses not only on 12-year old Marcus, but on 38-year old Will, a man totally dedicated to the proposition that any man who so desires can live quite happily on his own private little urban island, thank you very much. Will's `island' is his own London flat, which he has equipped with all the accoutrements of comfort and diversion that modern technology – in the form of computers, big screen TV's and DVD players - can afford. Who needs people when you have so much `stuff' to keep you content and occupied? Will thrives in his environment, much to the chagrin of his married couple friends who keep insisting that he must certainly be miserable without a wife and family to give his life meaning. But Will loves being shallow – a fact of his personality he is more than willing to declare right up front – and the last thing he needs – or thinks he needs – is people to clutter it up. Yet, island dwellers have a tendency not to remain marooned for long, and, before he knows it, Will finds himself striking up a relationship with a lonely, backward boy named Marcus, whose mother suffers from serious bouts of suicidal depression.

More than any comedy in recent memory, `About a Boy' establishes a tone and sticks with it to the end. The screenplay by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (the latter two function as the film's directors as well) manages to take a potentially clichéd and predictable story and invest it with a warmth, wit and tenderness that are all-enveloping. The voice-over narration by both Will and Marcus, which introduces us to their characters and keeps us informed as to their mental progress throughout the film, is remarkably clever and droll. Yet, the characters never come across as smug, smart-alecky or flippant. Rather, they speak and behave in ways that are both believable and realistic. Hugh Grant gives his richest performance to date as Will, the man who refuses to grow up and assume the role of responsible adult, blithely unaware of the emotional depths that lie hidden under a surface of apathy and indifference. The superb Grant is more than matched by relative newcomer Nicholas Hoult, an extraordinarily gifted young actor who doesn't look like the average `adorable' screen kid, and who makes Marcus into a very real, very likable and very sensitive young man. The remainder of the large cast is outstanding as well. Moreover, the film is very astute in its observation about just how easy technology has made it for us to isolate ourselves from one another. Admittedly, a little of the sharpness does go out of the screenplay in its closing stretches, but not enough to diminish one's pleasure appreciably.

In many ways, `About a Boy' is a movie that needs to be experienced first hand, since mere words fail to convey the very special charm and spell it manages to cast over the viewer. Rush to see it. Comic gems like this one don't come around very often!


128 of 140 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 439 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | USA | France | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

About a Boy See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,557,630, 19 May 2002

Gross USA:

$41,385,278

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$130,549,455
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed