Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

December Boys

December Boys
Jack Thompson, Kris McQuade, James Fraser, Christian Byers, Lee Cormie,
Sullivan Stapleton, Victoria Hill, Daniel Radcliffe and Teresa Palmer

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, nudity, underage drinking and smoking
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: September 14, 2007 Released by: Warner Brothers

A rather nostalgic, laid-back Australia rite of passage picture is December Boys.

For those not Down Under or Across the Atlantic, it could be viewed as a more emotional, ensemble version of Just Looking.

It's the 1960's in a not so bright Outback orphange, a new family unit has been bred among four lads whose birthdays are all in the twelfth month of the year.

A coastline holiday has them sharing residence with a retired sailor (Jack Thompson) and his wife (Kris McQuade). Three of the boys, Spit (James Fraser), Spark (Christian Byers), and Misty (Lee Cormie) take a liking to a childless couple played by Sullivan Stapleton and Victoria Hill. The very well known Daniel Radcliffe is the older Maps who has eyes for the zaftig teen blonde Lucy (Teresa Palmer of The Grudge 2).

The anecdotal voice-overs is a reflection of the universality to understand one's purpose and place in life, and December Boys has an autobiographical, somewhat doleful feel to it. Director Rod Hardy works admirably with his production team, especially on the designs and lensing. The use of light and darkness from the sunny coastal locales to nearby cliffs and hills feeds into the pubescent desires.

The sundrenched sense of wonder for these young men offers some offbeat, if intermittently rewarding moments from the denizens, a sea legend, a horse that fishes, a cyclist, among other visual comforting aids. It's easy to admire but more difficult to really be involved with the characters and the story which can be amusing for a bit and then more foreboding in relating what is a wondrous, if muted parable.

Radcliffe seems able to break away from his famous maturing, troubled boyish wizard though maybe this sweet affectionate confection about engaging to one's youth has more family value than dramatic resonance.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
December Boys       C+       C+

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