Thanks for checking out our Son of Rambow review. If you’d like, you can watch the video version of our Son of Rambow review at the bottom of this post.
When I first heard about Son of Rambow it seemed like a cute idea, but probably one of those “throw away” festival films. I was also quite confused by the spelling of “Rambow” at first (The proper spelling is RAMBO), so I just assumed it was meant as a simple child’s typo in the film. So was this a simple throw away festival movie? NO! Son of Rambo is my new favorite film of 2008. Yes, it’s really that good.
THE GENERAL IDEA
The film’s synopsis looks something like this: “SON OF RAMBOW is the name of the home movie made by two little boys with a big video camera and even bigger ambitions. Set on a long English summer in the early 80’s, SON OF RAMBOW is a comedy about friendship, faith and the tough business of growing up. We see the story through the eyes of Will, the eldest son of a fatherless Plymouth Brethren family. The Brethren regard themselves as God’s ‘chosen ones’ and their strict moral code means that Will has never been allowed to mix with the other ‘worldlies,’ listen to music or watch TV, until he finds himself caught up in the extraordinary world of Lee Carter, the school terror and maker of bizarre home movies. Carter exposes Will to a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood and from that moment Will’s mind is blown wide open and he’s easily convinced to be the stuntman in Lee Carters’ diabolical home movie. Will’s imaginative little brain is not only given chance to flourish in the world of film making, but is also very handy when it comes to dreaming up elaborate schemes to keep his partnership with Lee Carter a secret from the Brethren community. Will and Carter’s complete disregard for consequences and innocent ambition means that the process of making their film is a glorious rollercoaster that eventually leads to true friendship. They start to make a name for themselves at school as movie makers but when popularity descends on them in the form of the Pied Piper-esque French exchange student, Didier Revol, their unique friendship and their precious film are pushed, quite literally, to breaking point.”
This film is such a stew of goodness it’s difficult to pick out the individual parts that make it so wonderful. The first thing I’ll mention is the amazing job done by the film’s child actor lead Bill Milner. As the young child brought up in the hyper religious family with a colorful and vivid imagination, Bill’s pure charm and wonder leaves you totally drawn into his story. You love this kid from the moment he comes onto the screen. There is something so special about a character who approaches the world with such a sense of innocence that the beauty of everything, even 80’s action films, ignites their imaginations and sense of wonder. It reminds us of how we once saw the world, how we wish we could see it again and how despite our years of being embittered and jaded parts of the world still actually is if we allow ourselves to see it.
Director Garth Jennings (who also directed the massively disappointing film “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” a few years ago, does a MASTERFUL job at brining the story to us. It’s hard enough to tell a compelling story and bring out good performances with adult professional actors… it’s got to be next to impossible to make a film that is meant to be meaningful, touching, funny and beautiful with almost an exclusively child cast. But somehow, some way, Jennings does it.
The film is funny. From the opening credits I had an idiot grin on my face. 4 or 5 big laugh out loud moments, with plenty of giggles throughout. Not bad for a film that wasn’t primarily a comedy.
An inherent drawback of working with child actors is that sometimes emotionally charged scenes can come off a little cheesy or forced. For the most part Son of Rambow manages for avoid this, but there were 2 or 3 occasions that it does pop its head up. Aside from that, I have no complaints.
Son of Rambow is a witty, charming and beautiful little movie. It’s so rare that child actors can actually fully carry a movie, and yet the ones who populate the world of Rambow do a fantastic job. You cheer for them, cry a little for them, laugh with them and just love them. I LOVED this film. Treat yourself and go see it this weekend. Overall I give Son of Rambow a 9 out of 10
You can view the video version of our Son of Rambow review here: