6.8/10
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The Boys Are Back (2009)

PG-13 | | Drama | 12 November 2009 (Australia)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
A sports writer becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances.

Director:

Scott Hicks

Writers:

Simon Carr (novel), Allan Cubitt (adaptation)
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clive Owen ... Joe Warr
Emma Booth ... Laura
Laura Fraser ... Katy
George MacKay ... Harry
Nicholas McAnulty Nicholas McAnulty ... Artie
Julia Blake ... Barbara
Chris Haywood ... Tom
Erik Thomson ... Digby
Natasha Little ... Flick
Lewis Fitz-Gerald ... Tim Walker
Nakia Pires Nakia Pires ... Lucy
Emma Lung ... Mia
Steven Robertson ... School Housemaster
Georgina Naidu ... Paula
Daniel Carter Daniel Carter ... Digby & Paula's Child
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Storyline

The Boys Are Back is a confessional tale of fatherhood. It follows a witty, wisecracking, action-oriented sportswriter who, in the wake of his wife's death, finds himself in a sudden, stultifying state of single parenthood. Joe Warr throws himself into the only child-rearing philosophy he thinks has a shot at bringing joy back into their lives: "just says yes." Raising two boys - a curious six year-old and a rebel teen from a previous marriage -- in a household devoid of feminine influence, and with a lack of rules, life becomes exuberant, instinctual, reckless... and on the constant verge of disaster. The three multi-generational boys of the Warr household, father and sons alike, must each find their own way, however tenuous, to grow up. Written by Miramax

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Growing up can be the adventure of a lifetime. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC Films | Hanway Films | See more »

Country:

Australia | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 2009 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

De vuelta a la vida See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,342, 27 September 2009

Gross USA:

$809,752

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,234,705
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Equally intriguing to actor Clive Owen was the personality of his character Joe, which makes his struggles with trying to set his family back on course even more evocative. "Joe is a very fallible character," observed Owen. "He's not naturally very good at family life and this is a crazy, upside-down, volatile time for him. There are moments when things get really out of hand and he does make some big mistakes, but ultimately, you see that he's trying to do the right thing in his own way." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Warr: [narrating] I don't know whether you've ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting. But catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There is zig-zag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card. And these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always, more or less, an island.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Boys Are Back: A Father and Two Sons, on Set (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

This Wasted Life
Written by Mayfield (Copyright Control)
Performed by Mayfield
Licensed courtesy of Glorious Homeless Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: The Boys Are Back
26 January 2010 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

Mention Clive Owen, and chances are you'll think of that suave persona playing no less than roguish characters ranging from secret agents to well, erm, the go-to man if you want things done. Like Jackie Chan in The Spy Next Door, he's about to discover that the biggest challenge of his cinematic career is parenting, and in The Boys Are Back, Owen sheds his larger than life, indestructible spy characters for the role of Dad, and a complicated one too in having to reconnect with two boys from different marriages.

Based on the memoirs by Simon Carr, Owen stars as Joe Warr, a British sports news reporter now living in Southern Australia with his wife Katy (Laura Fraser) and son Artie (Nicholas McAnulty). But an unforeseen tragedy forces him to rethink his priorities in life, and figure out just how to cope with bringing up a kid, having no experience when he abandoned his ex-wife and his son Harry (George MacKay) from a previous marriage. So he hatches what he thought was a brilliant plan, and that's to bring Harry to Australia, and together, as a trio, would seek out new adventures in their parent-child relationship, imposing no rules other than to listen to him when commanded should the boys get out of hand.

The opening sequence would give rise to a certain expectation of how this film would play out, and little would you guess just what the beach going public was cursing at Joe for. It's this no holds barred growing up adventure that elevates this beyond just another movie with mourning and longing, where the protagonists realize that their unorthodox ways of bonding together, forging strong family ties, is just as easy and fragile as it is to be torn down.

Scott Hicks doesn't sugar coat the film with saccharine sweet moments, but instead offers some real pragmatism in what one would expect in a household lacking a woman's touch. And as a male I too abhor household chores unless it's absolutely necessary, so watching how the art direction of the Warr household just brought out that smirk that the filthy pig sty, erm, isn't far off from personal experience.

But it's not always just about the boys, as the narrative did offer a sneak peek into another what if moment, where budding romance with Laura (Emma Booth) was suggested at, though smartly worked on in not allowing it to overshadow the examination of the main relationships in the film about a father's attempt to connect with his sons, and them with each other. You'd wish for more given Booth's fine performance as the divorcée giving out all the right signals, only being frustrated that they're not acted upon with some degree of sincerity, with that unfair feeling of always being used.

For those familiar with what Clive Owen does best in his cinematic, larger than life personae portrayed on film, this role of Joe Warr would lead you to believe the the actor certainly has dramatic chops for more serious, father roles even. With excellent tracks by Sigur Ros, The Boys Are Back is one film that manages to get under your skin and make you feel very much for the dysfunctional family trying to find its rudder in the confused world they live in.


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