About a Boy
USA, UK, Germany, France
Drama, Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Hugh Grant as Will
Nicholas Hoult as Marcus
Sharon Small as Christine
Madison Cook as Imogen
Jordan Cook as Imogen
Ryan Speechley as Barney
Toni Collette as Fiona
Natalia Tena as Ellie (as Nat Gastiain Tena)
Laura Kennington as Ellie's Friend
Tanika Swaby as Ellie's Friend
Peter McNicholl as Ellie's Friend
Christopher Webster as Ellie's Friend
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 ...
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One of my all time favorites!
This is absolutely one of my favorite all time movies, I have it in my DVD collection, and whenever I'm feeling nostalgic and want to see a bit of London, hear witty British accents, then this is the film I watch. Nicholas Hoult is adorable in his role as "Marcus", I absolutely adore him, he'll do anything to make his mother happy, he wears the clothes and shoes she makes him wear, eats all the healthy food she makes him eat, sings the songs she likes ("Killing me softly"-has become an all time classic in my house because of this film); Toni Collette plays his crazy, vegan, hippy suicidal mother, when she makes him that loaf of organic brown bread that he kills a duck at the park- is one of our favorite scenes. He meets "Will" (Hugh Grant) who is a self-obsessed bachelor; they both become "friends" in an intricate and funny way, by Marcus practically barging into Will's life, taking over his home after school. Will, being more "hip" and into modern ways, tries to buy new sports shoes for Marcus, after he sees all the bullying and tormenting that Marcus is enduring at school, Marcus ends up going home shoeless in the rain. The entry of Rachel Weisz and her strange son in all of this, is also done in a funny way, and I love R.Weisz in everything she does, she is simply stunning. I love the plot, the London scenes, the whole comical story blends into one that has become a favorite with our family.
Now, this something more interesting
It's good to see the the Weiz brothers decided to change their style after the stupid "American Pie" and the bland "Down to Earth"into something more mature and complex.

"About a Boy" is an adaptation of the book of Nick Horby ("High Fidelity")and in this movie they proof that they could make something more serious and interesting. Combining perfectly well drama with comedy, the story follows the life of Marcus (Nicolas Hoult)a unhappy boy that don't have many friends, and in the school the other kids think of him as a freak.

Then, he meet Will(Hugh Grant )a selfish yuppie that only wants to date with some beautiful women.

Soon, by some unexpected coincidences, both became friends. However, the problems start when Will's lies and usual behavior could affect his friendship with Marcus.

This was a intelligent movie with lots of heart, and with pretty clever jokes. Hugh Grant makes one of the best works of his career, while Nicolas Hoult did a great job as Marcus. Also Rachel Weisz makes a solid performance that confirms again her incredible talent.

Very good!
A Great 'Guy Flick'
Really loved this film. Only just saw it now late on USA Network, and gotta say, if there's a film it's OK for a guy to cry on, this is it (and 'Brian's Song', of course). It's the perfect Hugh Grant role, a 'guy' belatedly becoming a 'man' by meeting his own inner child, and this time really thru a child. It's a place most of us guys either grudgingly or not at all like to see or even admit exists, that vulnerable and mysterious place only other humans can discover/touch/hurt/reach. A great film beautifully done. And a truly touching and expert job by Mr. Grant....again. And I only just discovered he shares my Birthday, explaining his great talent. Aloha...
About two boys really
While not being one of his three outings with Richard Curtis, this is still one of the films that Hugh Grant is best known for.

When I first saw it I instantly dismissed it. Whereas 'Curtis world' is happy and jolly this film actually surprises you by dealing with some pretty heavy issues. The DVD cover makes it out to be much more cheery than it actually is.

Grant gives a good performance, albeit one that isn't far away from any other role that he has played before or since. Nicholas Hoult gave his break out performance here, and has rightly gone onto other things.

I can't say this is my favourite Hugh Grant film, or even the one he will be remembered for, but it's an interesting enough film.
I couldn't disagree more.
This is in response to another user's comments on this movie.

I thought Nicholas Hoult was marvelous in this movie. He was my favorite thing about it, really. He can't sing? Well, maybe not. But that was hardly the point. The point, in fact, was that his character COULDN'T sing. You obviously didn't get it.

I do, however, agree that Hugh Grant needs to diversify his roles a bit more. I must admit, though, that I didn't detest him as much in this movie as I normally do.

I liked the book (loved High Fidelity much more) but this is one of the few occurences where I actually preferred the movie.
It didn't kill me softly.
Will is self centred and has cast off all his responsibilities. But during one of his more dubious scams to date single mothers, he is forced to reconsider his moral fibre after coming into contact with a 12 year old outcast named Marcus.

Adapted from the massively popular book written by Nick Hornby {Fever Pitch & High Fidelity} About A Boy easily translates well to the screen without truly breaking free of the modest premise. Oddly enough for such a British picture, this is directed by an American, Paul Weitz, who along with his brother Chris, brought the world American Pie!. It works, largely to the undervalued comic talents of one Hugh Grant {Will}. I would go so far as to say that without Grant leading the film, this would have been a flop, all the highlights on offer are when Grant is on the screen. Expressive with his face and delivering his lines with a natural high, Grant nicely lures the audience into the less than admirable Will's hands. Which is quite a trick considering that Will is a morally dubious scum bag!.

Nicholas Hoult {Marcus} is OK as child actors go, but here he is given far to much to do. Which is another reason why Grant is so important to the film being a success, he shoulders much of the emotional burden, letting Hoult breathe what life he can into poor young Marcus {worst hair cut on film ever}. Solid support comes from Toni Collette and Rachael Weisz, and Weitz's direction is smooth and unobtrusive, with Badly Drawn Boy's score an integral part of the story. Yet as much as i enjoy the film myself, i still feel frustrated that it didn't turn out better than it did. A double handed narration from both lead characters intrudes on the flow of the plot, and the pay off is ultimately an "oh" moment. So to me it's an OK movie made into a good one courtesy of one of Britain's best light comedy actors. 7/10
one of hugh grants best movies.hugely enjoyable from start to finish,without being too predictable.toni colette just gets better with every movie she makes,i would love to see her in a starring role.why not a sequel to muriels wedding?
About a Boy — What it means to be an island and what relationships are for
About a Boy is a charming movie about responsibilities or the lack thereof. It's a low key narrative where a boy has to deal with some realities of life he's not ready for, and where a man is confronted by reality and must connect with it.

Hugh Grant, as usual, has its way with words, but his volume is pretty moderate this time around. Opposite him is Nicholas Hoult as the boy. Their character are very disparate if not entirely opposite, and they play this duality pretty well, one strengthening and helping the other finding some basic truths of life.

All the acting is solid, to the point where you want to slap some sense into Toni Collette's depressive persona. The editing gives us a great pacing, and the story is engrossing and, even if it stays pretty simple, brings a couple of new things to the table, as well as some well worn out ideas. The "lie" makes an apparition, but is dealt with in an incredibly mature way. The environment is rich, the important characters deep, the soundtrack sensible, and you'll chuckle a good number of times.

I highly recommend, except if you're looking for action or if you want to avoid sentimentality.
Uncomfortable relationships.
What I liked about this film was that it didn't "guild the lily" with any of its characters. In particular, Marcus's mother, who is clinically depressed, is presented correctly as emotionally numb and pretty much oblivious to those around her. This is quite different from the usual (erroneous) Hollywood version of effusive, and usually loquacious, sadness. Even the boy, who is the real hero of the story, is allowed to be not-all-that-likable. Beyond the movie itself, I really enjoyed the interview with High Grant that was included on the DVD. He was honest enough to admit that he genuinely does not much care for children, and so the discomfort and emotional distance between Will and Marcus is not fake. I think he mentioned insisting that they not cast a kid who was going to want to hug him or something similar, and that comes across clearly in the film, adding to rather than detracting from the texture of the story.
Isle Of Hugh
Sometimes a rut can feel like a hammock when we get stuck in one.

"About A Boy" is about a Londoner who was apparently born into one, imprisoned as it were by his father's legacy as author of one of the world's most popular and annoying Christmas songs. After years of feckless unemployed upper-middle-class living, Will views himself as an island, and sees his lack of long-term relationships as a plus. Even offered the simple honor of being an infant's godfather, Will begs off, saying he'd be "crap" at it and probably just "try and shag" the girl the moment she turned 18.

"I always thought you had hidden depths," the mother says.

"No, you've always had that wrong," Will cheerfully replies. "I really am this shallow."

But of course Will does have depths, and as played by Hugh Grant in a role that gives this smooth comedic actor a chance to showcase some previously-unguessed-at depths of his own, we find ourselves rooting for Will to find them as he finds himself attached unwillingly to a 12-year-old named Marcus, played with welcome non-cuteness by Nicholas Hoult. Marcus, an abuse magnet at school, is alternately worried for his unstable mother and searching for a pal. Will, a 12-year-old at heart, is a perfect if unknowing candidate.

Based on the great Nick Hornby novel, "About A Boy" walks a fine line, doling out easy laughs and real pathos with deceptive ease. Like Hornby's book, the movie depicts Will's perverse detachment from the world as both delightful and pathetic. Life is a full plate of pain for those who participate, but the benefits, as Marcus tries to tell Will, beat all else.

Of course, most of us don't have the luxury for "island living," and the potential of resenting Will, especially as played by that handsome devil Grant, might have been the film's biggest danger. But Grant defuses things with a subtle characterization that downshifts on the smugness and draws on the lost boy within.

For example, when Will tries to infiltrate a single-mothers' club as a way of bagging some commitment-free sex, we watch him tell the mothers about his own non-existent two-year-old boy Ned telling him "you hang in there, Dad," then reacting with uncertain fear when the mothers enthuse about how remarkable that is for such a young child.

But we also see the pain Will pretends isn't there, in brief flashes as he reflects on the hard-drinking failure his father became after his one-hit wonder, and especially in one great scene where Will finds himself with a woman he really cares about, unable to break out of his artifice at a critical moment. During that scene, and a later, angry one with Marcus, Grant's acting really demands consideration from those who dismiss him as a dandy glamor boy.

The directors, Chris and Paul Weitz of "American Pie"-fame, prove they can make a film that delivers intelligence as well as laughter, and with writer Peter Hedges, fashion a script that takes some clever and daring liberties with Hornby's solid story. I especially liked the one near the end of the movie, but if I revealed anything I'd probably get some Flack for it, so say no more.

The very last scene of the movie is a mistake, though, the kind of tidy resolution Hornby's novel and life itself rightly rejects. It's the one bum note in this film, but enough of one to dock it a point with me. Otherwise, I'd have to rate this above even the other cinematic Hornby adaptation, the classic "High Fidelity." But this is a very entertaining film, with great set design, a terrific "Rubber Soul"-style Britpop title song by Badly Drawn Boy, tight editing, and subtle, crafty camera work. Also some great supporting performances, especially Toni Collette as Marcus' mother, who has the film's toughest role (she must be funny and suicidal) and manages to not only pull it off but gives "About A Boy" a wonderfully unstable center. As "About A Boy" makes clear, instability is a good thing when it shakes us from our ruts.