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The Boys Are Back

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Australia, United Kingdom · 2009
Rated PG-13 · 1h 44m
Director Scott Hicks
Starring Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, Emma Booth, George MacKay
Genre Drama

When the wife of sports-writer Joe Warr dies of cancer, he takes on the responsibility of raising their 6-year-old son, and his teenage son from a previous marriage. As Joe rejects the counsel of his mother-in-law and other parents, he develops his own philosophies on parenting. Inspired by a true story.

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Village Voice by

Carr's original anecdotes don't supply much storyline, so Hicks spans the gaps with golden-lit montages set to Sigur Rós. They're a great advertisement for Australian vacations. And vasectomies.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Hicks has made a technically adept film, but one that, for all of its strong acting and vivid photography, left me less moved than I should have been.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

There’s little that can be done with material wrung of its complications to accommodate an ultimately life-affirming, it-all-works-out agenda.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Liam Lacey

For all its generally judicious choices, there's one device in The Boys Are Back that may test the patience of some viewers. Every once in a while, the late Katy pops up in a scene to offer Joe wifely advice.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

With those piercing eyes, Owen makes a lovely, soulful Joe, of course. But it's not the nice papa we want to understand here, it's the unapologetically naughty one.


The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

Not surprisingly, Boys works much better as an Owen vehicle than a movie--it’s a great, meaty part in a decidedly less-than-great film.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Owen, in a heartfelt, award-caliber performance, never goes soft. It's his core of toughness that makes the movie so funny, touching and vital.

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