My wife lives in a house of boys. Our oldest son is four, our youngest three months. And my maturity level falls somewhere between the two. The next time this poor, outmatched saint-in-the-making shoots me one of her quizzical looks as she tries to decipher what giddily adolescent thoughts are rocketing through our brains, I'm going to show her Garth Jennings' Son of Rambow. The exceptional coming-of-age comedy so accurately captures how boys behave, you'd think Jennings planted his camera inside a 10-year-old's skull, then beamed the child's imagination directly through his saucer-wide eyes onto the theater's screen.
The titles refers to Sylvester Stallone
's initial Rambo adventure, First Blood, which directly inspires ruffian Lee Carter (Will Poulter
) and his puritan school chum Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner
) to make their own movie in the summer of 1982. There are obstacles, of course. Will's family belongs to a strict religious organization that forbids movies, television, and other forms of pop culture. Lee's own family is nonexistent. His parents travel often, leaving him in the care of an older brother who could care less. Article continues below
I love Lee Carter. More accurately, I love Poulter, the young genius blessed with the talent (and stones) to breathe angst, attitude, and a glimmer of hope into this savagely sarcastic young character. Jennings told me during a recent interview that Poulter's a sweetheart in person -- every parent's dream. If that's the case, the boy deserves an Oscar for his work in Rambow.
But Poulter's one of a million things you'll love about this film. The sum total of memorable performances reaches double digits, highlighted by aloof Jules Sitruk as French foreign exchange student Didier Revol. Jennings shows a fantastic eye, discovering imaginative places to place his camera to capture his offbeat action. But his script shows true understanding of both boys, who couldn’t come from more different worlds but find a common bond in their love of storytelling, fantasy, and all-around fun.
If you adore movies -- and why would you be reading this if you didn't? -- you are going to go crazy for Son of Rambow. It is the best movie Stallone has ever (indirectly) been involved in.