This little gem will sit and rot out in the multiplex for a week before being swept aside for the next big blockbuster. But if it came to your town, do go see it.
It’s a sweet, nostalgic tale of childhood, imagination and growing up. Set in 1980s Britain (rural, not London) two school boys become unlikely chums. Lee Carter is a clever troublemaker, and Will is quiet and helpful — and forbidden to watch TV, along with other strictures due to his neo-Puritan upbringing. Quite by accident, Will sees Rambo: First Blood and is completely enchanted with it. Lee, who had already decided to enter something into the BBC’s young filmmaker’s contest, pairs up with Will and the two make their our version of the action classic, dubbing it Son of Rambow.
The film follows the ups and downs of friendship between the two unlike companions, but more impressively, it views the world from a child’s perspective without reducing it to naivete. Both of these characters are dealing with very stressful situations in their family life and do so with admirable maturity. The film also weaves subtle details into the plot which surround a child’s imagination. Things mentioned earlier, arrive later, in a more colorful and outrageous form. As it should, it reminds one of their own childhood and the strange things they used to do to amuse themselves.
The only shortfall is about three-quarters of the way into the film when Lee and Will’s friendship is on the rocks. There are three contiguous scenes which deal with one apologizing to the other and vice versa. Theses are strung together with nothing in between where we might understand what was being apologized for, or what had transpired to induce the other to seek forgiveness. It does pick itself up and get back on track, however, for a lovely final scene.
Both young men are very good actors and the supporting cast was also very strong. If only there were more films like this, to remind us of ourselves when we had no idea how to be embarrassed or afraid of being thought silly.