About Boy

Winter Break Recommendation: “About a Boy”

If you’re bored this winter break and are looking for something to do, watch About a Boy. The 2002 English movie is one that has an interesting plot but also contains a great message. It even ends around the holidays, which definitely corresponds with the time of year.

In search of a movie that’s different than the typical ‘rom-com,’ I stumbled across this film and found it to be entertaining in a different way than other movies. The humor is subtle yet present, but also has some life lessons and serious scenarios in it. It’s definitely a different kind of movie than I’ve seen before, which is refreshing.

According to IMDb, About a Boy is about, “A cynical, immature young man [who] is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.” The movie is 101 minutes in duration and received an average rating of 7.1 on the site out of 138,475 users.

The movie begins with Will (Hugh Grant) talking about how “every man is an island,” and showing that he is a loner in his adult life. He enjoys being at home, doing his own thing, and that’s about it. He’s a single man that never settled down or worked hard because he lives off of the royalties of a Christmas song that his father wrote, which is partly why he is unmotivated to achieve more in life.

The plot flips between Will’s point of view and Marcus’ (Nicholas Hoult), who is a young boy that gets bullied in school. Marcus has a tough time at home as well, but doesn’t let these things bring him down. He constantly worries about his mother, who suffers with depression. Though it sounds as though the movie is dark and sad, it gets much lighter.

After an incident that happens with Marcus’ mother, he finds comfort in Will, though he is still basically a stranger to him. Marcus had met Will once before, but now finds him to be a friend. And whether Will likes it or not, Marcus is usually hanging around him and asking him questions. It takes a lot of patience for a man who considers himself to be “an island,” but Marcus’ pestering eventually teaches Will many life lessons about growing up, character, and positivity.

The film seems to follow the stereotypical gender role plotline, but not necessarily the character set-up. Some examples include: Marcus’ mother as the emotional woman; Will’s expectation that all of the single mothers in the movie should be attractive yet fragile; and Will himself asthe emotionally unavailable, beer-drinking man. But we tend to see the adults as the mature ones, not the children, which is where the movie stands out. For instance, Will has never been able to settle down with one woman for more than a few months in his entire lifetime, and Marcus is the one to point out what he is doing wrong. Though he is just a young boy, Marcus eventually gives him dating advice and is able to help get his life back on track as a mature adult.

Will, however, is also able to teach Marcus not to take life so seriously. Children tend to be the dreamers and adventurers in life, but Marcus is different. Because he has seen many hardships, he wears what he can to blend in and not be noticed by others and he’s also afraid to be himself. Through multiple entertaining scenes, Will is able to teach Marcus that he doesn’t have to be afraid to step out of his comfort zone and be the fun, free-spirited child that  he should be. The movie wraps up around the holiday time and shows just how much both characters have learned from each other.

About a Boy received a 94 percent enjoyment rate on RottenTomatoes.com, a commonly known entertainment source. The average rating was a 7.7/10, out of 185 reviews on the site. The site also says that the critics’ consensus is that the movie is, “A winning comedy that benefits from Hugh Grant’s boyish charms.”

Overall, I feel as though the movie was entertaining and different (in a good way). There are so many movies out today that continuously use the same plotline, but About a Boy is unique. This would be a good watch for those that are looking to gain a fresh perspective on life, or those who are even just in search of motivation to do something. So if you’re bored over winter break with nothing to do and are in the mood to binge watch, definitely consider this movie.  

Image Taken from  IMDb.com