About a Boy (2002)
Directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Screenplay by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz, and Paul Weitz
Based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby
Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette
Thanks to an inheritance Will is able to spend his time enjoying the simple luxuries of bachelorhood. After discovering that children are a good way to meet women, Will begins going to a single parent support group. Through the group he unintentionally connects with Marcus, an awkward 12 year-old looking for a friend. Soon the two of them begin an awkward friendship where they begin to learn about life from one another.
Nick Horby (High Fidelity) knows how to create strangely interesting and slightly tragic characters. This time his novel About a Boy comes to life through a screenplay written by Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass), and Paul Weitz (Being Flynn). These three translated the novel into a great screenplay that takes full advantage of the eccentricities of the characters. The Weitz brothers also directed this film, bringing their individual talents to this interesting film.
From a production standpoint, this film does everything right. The camera work is simple and always interesting. The set design work and the costuming do the rest in keeping this film consistent and fun. The costumes in particular are used to great effect in showing the clear differences in each of the characters.
The story works wonderfully from every aspect. The awkward realities of life are put on display with a certain amount of painful awkwardness and a great deal of comedy. This is played perfectly through great performances by Hugh Grant (Love Actually) and Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man). The acting from the rest of the cast is also nicely done. In particular, Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) manages to handle one of the more awkward roles with nice results.
The Washington Post called this film “that rare romantic comedy that dares to choose messiness over closure, prickly independence over fetishised coupledom, and honesty over typical Hollywood endings.” This is a refreshing take on the challenges of relationships and the pain that often comes with being honest. If you’re a fan of the stars in this one, I think it’s one worth seeing. I would also recommend this one to anyone who likes romantic comedies or light drama. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.