Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #318 About a Boy

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2011 at 4:37 AM

Movie #318 About a Boy

(2002, UK, d. Paul Weitz)

About a Boy is the rare Hugh Grant film. And let me explain why. It’s the rare Hugh Grant film that doesn’t feel contrived. There is no set formula the filmmakers are trying to exploit because of some financial plan that guarantees a box office success. It is the rare High Grant film in that the moments seem honest and real. It’s not bookstore meets celebrity. Not a film over a scandalous diary. Not a movie about murder. Not a movie about love at Christmas. It’s just a movie about a guy who doesn’t want anything to do with anyone and a kid he happens to meet. It’s about a friendship. And nothing more than that. It’s also the rare Hugh Grant film in that we find we are watching a new character. Not the same old stuttering Grant we see in every picture, though he still stutters here. He seems to be a man of depth, of sadness, and perhaps of even loss. There is still that irreplaceable ‘cute factor’ but there is also complexity that shares its place. And that is a real compliment to director Chris Weitz, who was able to get that performance out of him. It’s finally the rare Grant movie that is truly moving, but that’s not entirely because of him. Anchored by a wonderful supporting cast including Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz, About a Boy has a big payoff, but it’s one of those films that deserve it – one of those films that feel real down to the song selection. It doesn’t feel like a sell-out, doesn’t feel catered to a hipster audience (500 Days of Summer, that’s you), and most of all, doesn’t feel fake. It’s a lovely movie. Go watch it.

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