About A Boy - Chris and Paul Weitz (2002)

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About a Boy is the third film to be based on the novel by Nick Hornby, following Fever Pitch (1997) and High Fidelity (2000). It was directed by two Americans film makers, Chris and Paul Weitz, the duo who wrote Antz, and directed the great success American Pie.

The story more than about a boy is about two boys, in fact, and the effect they have on each other's lives.

One boy is Will (Grant), an idle 38-year-old who, living off the royalties of a hit Christmas song his father wrote before he was born, has never held a job for more than a few days and has never really had to grow up. The other one is Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), a 12-year-old with a depressed and suicidal mother who is, by far, the less cool kid in his school. The fact that he sometimes sings in class when his mind wanders, without realizing it, doesn't help.

The plot follows in part the book, but several parts were totally omitted, specifically, the classmate of Marcus, Ellie, and her myths, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana grunge rock group. Cobains' suicide was one of the crucial moment in the book but, if it had been cited, the film should have been dated in 1994 not in 2002 or so.

The screenplay is also modified for the whole part about Marcus' mother, Fiona, and her "politically correct" and "radical" references, specifically in music.

In summary, the rich "soundtrack" presented by Hornby in his book (as in the previous one, High Fidelity) is quite completely ignored, and instead of Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now, the preferred song of Fiona becomes Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack, a soul classic by far easier and very well known. Instead of Nirvana's album the initiation of Marcus to the contemporary music is based on a rap piece by  Mystikal, a song published in 1995.

In the film it's also possible to hear the imaginary Christmas song Santa's Super Sleigh, that gives to Will the means to live after many years it was written.

The main part of the movie's soundtrack is hence based on the work of a British musician and author, Damon Gough, usually known as Badly Drawn Boy, that wrote several song and musical pieces very well aligned to the movie's atmosphere.

 

Main characters and interpreters

 

Hugh Grant - Will
Nicholas Hoult - Marcus
Sharon Small - Christine
Nicholas Hutchison - John
Toni Collette - Fiona
Nat Gastiain Tena - Ellie
Isabel Brook - Angie
Victoria Smurfit - Suzie
Jason Salkey - Tom/Amnesty International
Mark Drewry - Clive, father of Marcus
Denise Stephenson - Lindsey
Rachel Weisz - Rachel
Augustus Prew - Ali, son of Rachel

 

Soundtrack

 

Something To Talk About (Gough)
Rue De Noir (Barker)
A Peak You Reach (Gough)
Rainy Days And Mondays (Nichols / Williams) - Alexandra Hill
Santa's Super Sleigh (Pete Brewis) - Lindsay Benson
A Minor Incident (Gough)
Bitches And Friends (Rinaldi / Garofalo) - DJ Rodriguez
Killing Me Softly With His Song (Gimbel/Fox) - Toni Collette / Hugh Grant / Nicholas Hoult
Zoo Station (Hewson / Evans / Clayton / Mullen) - U2
Walking Out Of Stride (Gough)
Feliz Navidad (Feliciano) - Josť Feliciano
Courtesy of RCA Records/BMG Entertainment
Sussex Carol (trad.)
Shake Ya Ass (Tyler / Hugo / Williams) - Mystikal
Avoidance Learning (Hanif / Mangat) - Dead Relative
Silent Sigh (Gough)
Above You Below Me (Gough)
SuperThug (Williams / Hugo / Santiago / Harry / Stein) - Noreaga
Donna And Blitzen (Gough)

 

CD Soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy

 

1. Exit Stage Right
2. A Peak You Reach
3. Something to Talk About
4. Dead Duck
5. Above You, Below Me
6. I Love N.Y.E.
7. Silent Sigh
8. Wet, Wet, Wet
9. River, Sea, Ocean
10. S.P.A.T.
11. Rachel's Flat
12. Walking Out of Stride
13. File Me Away
14. A Minor Incident
15. Delta (Little Boy Blues)
16. Donna and Blitzen

 

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 © Alberto Truffi 2009 /  Music-Graffiti

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