Boy A - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Boy A Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 23, 2012
This film does everything that you wish a film would do. It takes the dark past of a murderer, turns him into a likeable character and makes you feel for him more than any other character. Andrew Garfield is astonishing in this film, in which sparked his career as an actor. In his first starring role, his performance feels very real and true. By the end of the film, you will have been captivated by every scene that there will be no possible way to dislike this movie. Not only do I love every second of "Boy A," but I it kept my thinking after the movie ended and I cannot wrap my mind around the brilliant conclusion, if you can even call it that. This film, in my eyes, is a masterpiece!
Super Reviewer
½ April 28, 2012
At first a thought-provoking film about guilt, atonement and the right to start over as a new person. It relies on an excellent performance by Andrew Garfield, but sadly after two intriguing acts everything culminates in a disappointing ending that is contrived and insubstantial.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2011
Loved it
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
A very interesting film where the director plays on the sympathy and likeness to character who has the past of a murderer. The idea of giving people a second chance in life is a common theme, and for the most part, the second chance is shown in a positive light. The twist in the movie comes from the question; with time should all crimes or mistakes be forgiven and forgotten no matter the scale? The film does not conclude with solid answers, but rather dwells on it's complex ideas.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2008
"Boy A" is one of the best movies you never heard of! I was left breathless! "Boy A" challenges the viewer to see the person more so than the crime. I felt conflicted as my emotions were pulled in many directions during the movie from different characters experiences. It left me questioning what I would do in the character's position? This movie is recondite and esoteric while allowing the viewer to relax and enjoy this gritty story. This is not a fast paced movie and may I suggest be viewed starting with a glass of wine, but keep the vodka close as the the story unfolds! All the actors gave excellent performances especially Andrew Garfield as Boy A who will be the new Peter Parker in Spiderman 4.
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2008
Good, not as good as I thought it would be from the trailer, but worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2009
A superb film in just about every imaginable way. From the incredible drama to the moral and ethical subjects tackled. It shows how people really can change and also the saddening unforgiving nature of society. Nothing can excuse what Jack did, but as the film shows he has become a decent and even heroic young man. The performance from Andrew Garfield is worthy of any award. He presents us with a man who finds society awkward, who has regrets over his past but most of all wants to move on with a worthwhile life. The film is often brutal but also touching. Mullan is his superb self and every character is given a wealth of depth and understanding. A rare, honest and in many ways brave film.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2008
"Boy A" is a stunner. I'm always searching for the hidden gems of the cinema world and now I found one! This film has been a hit on many film festivals and I see it as my duty to tell my friends about it.

Jack, played by Andrew Garfield, is a young man who's in transition to gain a new future. He was sent to prison for a crime he committed as a child. Terry, played by Peter Mullen (Trainspotting, Children of Men) is the one person who has faith and sees the good in him. His new life starts good, he gets a job, meets a girl and falls in love. But the past woun't leave him alone...

John Crowley, the director, tells the story of Jack using flashbacks. This suits the film perfectly, as the viewer gains little by little more information about this sympathetic character.

"Boy A" is somewhat of a brutal, morally complex film. Should people be given a second chance? Will the guilt of your past be stronger than your will to find happiness in life?

The strongest factor in "Boy A" is its lead actors. I can't recall when was the last time I saw such a strong performance, as Andrew Garfield's performance as Jack? His future, If he upholds the same level as in "Boy A", couldn't be any brighter. All of the actors do an excellent job and they show us perfect examples on how to reach the viewers heart.

The cinematography and sound department are simple but effective. The sets are pretty ascetic but they leave more attention to the actors work.

After my first viewing, I really can't find anything negative to say about this film. "Boy A" is a film that touched me. And that doesn't happen often. A perfect achievement in acting, or filmmaking in general, "Boy A" should be viewed by everyone who enjoy serious cinema.
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2008
It was pretty good. One of those unique films. I liked how they went back to his childhood in between his adulthood.

After watching this film, for those who saw the end..."the crime", I had a dream that night that I was doing the same thing to my younger brother! Weird!
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2008
"Who Decides Who Gets A Second Chance?"Having been institutionalized for most of his life, Jack (Andrew Garfield) is finally released from prison at the age of 24. He and another boy murdered a child when they themselves were children. The film follows Jack's attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart a life which never really got going.Under the fatherly mentoring of Terry (Peter Mullan), his parole contact and social worker, he experiences a coming of age, which would normally have happened years ago. Forces from the past are constantly upon him. As we learn more about the events leading up to the crime which has ruined so many lives, there is an increasing sense of suspense, intrigue and ultimately doom: the tabloid press and Terry's real son are not going to let things lie. Definitely one of the best films I've seen this year. This came as a shock to me because I have never heard of this film beforehand. But because of the buzz that's been circling around this film I decided to buy me a copy of this one and man, was I surprised. This film tackles the idea of second chances and starting life all over. Boy A is visually stunning. The acting is astounding, credit goes to up and coming talent Andrew Garfield and the raw emotion that he invested in the character. It was very convincing and all the while, heart breaking. He carries the film from start to end and you can't help but notice his presence from the get-go. It just goes to show that you don't need big explosions and loud, noisy scenes to make an excellent movie. With all the rubbish Hollywood's been releasing these days, its nice to see films like these just circling around, silently building its audience fan base and through the word of mouth, it spreads and it spreads. Boy A is highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2008
This film left me utterly speechless. This great British Drama is shot as a devil's advoate kind of view, showing two sides to every story.

Certain parts of the film led me and (I'm sure others) to recall a very similar well known British case.

The actions to the film lead you to make your own opinions and your mind is questioning every part of this dilemma.

Superbly acted, gritty, emotional, real hard hitting stuff with a controversial issue. Amazing! Kudos to the Director and leading actor for this one.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2008
Wrenching, beautifully acted, tiny and hard. So glad I saw this one.
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Boy A" starts with a young man(Andrew Garfield) choosing Jack as the new name for himself and given a new pair of sneakers by his caseworker, Terry(Peter Mullan), who is overlooking his release which is conducted with the utmost secrecy. Amongst other things, he has also arranged an apartment and a new job for his young charge working in a warehouse where he makes some new friends including Chris(Shaun Evans) and catches the eye of a secretary, Michelle(Katie Lyons).[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Boy A" is a competent and well-acted social drama that is hampered by a couple of plot contrivances. The movie is about the notions of responsibility and rehabilitation and asks if any one person's life is completely without worth. The answer is simply that we all need somebody who loves us. Jack is no longer the same person he was when he was a kid, ne Eric Wilson(Alfie Owen). At the time, he was victimized by older bullies, was ignored by his father(Leigh Symonds) while his mother(Maria Gough) was seriously ill. Into the abyss, steps Philip(Taylor Doherty), a kid his own age that protects him from the bullies. But as an adult, he has a social network of people who accept him(they think he used to steal cars) and a loving father figure in Terry. [/font]
Super Reviewer
March 2, 2013
Boy A is an imperfect but thoughtful drama about forgiveness and guilt with a great star turn by Andrew Garfield in his first movie role. It tells the story of Jack (played by Garfield), a young adult recently released from prison after committing a horrible crime at a young age. Jack wants nothing more than to put his past behind and start up a new life in Manchester, but to do that he has to hide his past from everyone around him, and soon people begin to suspect that he is not who he says he is. The plot can get somewhat predictable at times, but luckily the ending is far from that of a Hollywood movie. The movie poses questions about whether ex-criminals like Jack deserve to be forgiven and given a second chance, and it tries to provide the answer by making Jack a very sympathetic and guilt-stricken character. He made a serious mistake when he was younger and he wants to start over, but not everyone is on board to let that happen. Boy A makes for a thoughtful drama about actions and consequences, and thanks an impressive performance from Andrew Garfield and an interesting story, it's worth watching.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2010
A stirring drama that isn't afraid to go to dark places.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2011
It was a pretty decent film. A little slow at times. But a good story nonetheless. I liked how they slowly revealed the back story, so you slowly piece together what really happened. I also liked the ending. A good "did he...or didn't he". And I felt really bad for Jack (Andrew Garfield). I don't think he was ever really bad guy to begin with. I think he was lost kid who was influenced by the one person who took any notice of him. But it makes you think. But it makes you think, if this was real, would I have passed judgment on him without knowing his full backstory? Would I see the nice guy before me....or would I would I be blinded by his past? The film was good in that way. I think the acting was great. Andrew Garfield really shines here. So I would recommend this film. Like I already mentioned, it can be slow some times, but overall very good.

And on another note that doesn't have to do with any important in the movie...I really enjoyed Andrew Garfield Spaz-tastic dancing. Boy has got moves.
Super Reviewer
½ June 27, 2008
Another one of those films with the dramatic equivalent of a punch in the gut. Much more than a simple morality tale, this story of redemption, forgiveness and trust explores as much of the gray areas of our society as I've seen. Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan give the kind of performances the academy should have been paying attention to. Another one to move to top of your list.
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2010
To be honest my main problem was that the main character looked retarded. I don't know if he was supposed to or not, but it distracted me. I didn't really get the message it was trying to say. It kind of seemed like they were saying that Jack was a bad guy and he should be treated as one, whereas I feel the opposite.

I mean, he did something bad as a kid, because his BFF 'told' him to. In some cases, this would be like your parent telling you to do something. They tell you to do something, even if you think it's bad, but you do it because they're the authority. Putting him in jail for 10 years isn't going to fix him at all, and probably would screw him up a little. But I just think it's stupid.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2009
"Boy A" is a film that is at times so hauntingly beautiful that its repeated attempts to undermine itself are nothing short of a tragedy. At its best it soars to such wondrous heights. At its worst it sacrifices its ethereal beauty for the comforts of condescension and artificiality. It is almost as if the filmmakers were afraid to go where the film itself was taking them, and every time it tried to break free they managed to reign it in, re-anchoring it into the realm of the conventional.

At the core of what succeeds in the film is the truly great central performance. The acting is, in general, top notch but Andrew Garfield truly stands out by delivering a deceptively simple performance as the titular Boy A. Having spent most of his life in an institution, he has the emotional development of a child. His fragility and tenderness would be comical if they were not constantly at odds with his feelings of guilt. He provides for the film everything it needs: its tone, its mood, its pacing. It responds in turn by being structured around him. Had the film been exclusively about him and his attempts to start a life it might well have been a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, the screenplay has other ideas. A subplot involving our lead's parole officer and his son is completely pointless, existing solely as a device with which to bring about the final catalyzing event. The use of symbolism in a particular scene (the knife, more evident during the closing scenes) is appallingly obvious to the point of distraction. The romance, while well acted, feels more like the artificial construct of an overeager screenwriter, particularly since our female lead, described as intelligent and quick-witted, all but threw herself at this awkward, socially retarded puppy-dog without having so much as spoken to him in a series of sequences that make little, if any, sense. The screenplay also feels the need to artificially punch up the danger via unnecessary flashbacks, a violent scene that contradicts all we know of our boy Jack, and even deus ex machina. The film's ending is a particularly bad offender, relying on a series of improbable (if not impossible) circumstances in order to unfold the way it did.

What we are left with, then, is a film that is as great as it is mediocre. Every stunning moment is undermined by artificiality not long after, but the reverse is also true. As a whole "Boy A" is a good film that is disappointing only because of how great it was allowed to be at times.
Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2009
Absolutely amazing. I was sold right from the beginning.
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