December Boys - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

December Boys Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 25, 2010
I liked it! But it's pretty lacky with the plot!
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2009
Kinda sweet, but ultimately forgettable. Dan is okay in the angry climax, doofy in the love scene, and really uncoordinated when he's running.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2008
Okay, I know what you're thinking 'What the hell is Harry Potter doing in the outback??" But seriously, you guys should give this a chance...I know not everyone would prefer such a film...but I really really really liked it.

Yip, JBitBop...another aussie film that gets a shining gold start from moi. ;]

Some background, perhaps?

This is the story of Maps, Spit, Spark and Misty...four orphans who all happen to have been born in December. Because of this very fact is the basis of their friendship, all of them living in a catholic convent in the outback in about the 60s.

They watch as other little boys get happily adopted into families, and silent seethe with jealousy...knowing deep within themselves that it'll never be them smiling with two new parents. Since it is their birthday, and the convent seemed to have set aside some money to take the boys on a holiday to LadyStar Cove.

After a long road across the arid scenery, they finally get to the sea where they are welcomed by an older couple named Bandy and Skipper. While there, they swim, splash about, climb over the rocks and simply have a good time.

When passing by towards the cove they come across a fair where the 'Fearless Forte' jumps his motorcycle through hoops of fire and death-defying stunts. Being in total awe of this, he discovers that this fearless biker lives just next door to the place they're staying. And meet the couple who are unable to have children, learning that they are looking into adopting one of the four as their own when their holiday draws to a close.

Maps, being the oldest, doesn't seem to worry much about being adopted and instead sets his eyes upon a girl named Lucy.

While the other three compete to show who would be the most likely candidate for adoption. Things happen that test their friendships and then the feelings of rejection seem to drive a bit of a rift between them.

Eventually, these ties become stronger what with the various events that happen in the cove...where they learn what being a December Boy is really about.

The scenery in this simply stunned me, it was vibrant and lively...drawing one further into this endearing story of a bamd of orphans. The acting in here was quite decent, as each Boy portrayed what their names meant behind their titles.

To be honest, the story sort of reminded me of Les Choristes...so therefore anyone who enjoyed that type of story...would enjoy this as well.

Good news avid bookfiends! It's a novel by Michael Noonan...which I have already added to my list as well.
:]
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2008
I usually like coming-of-age stories, and this one is OK too. This one focuses on four orphans who happen into a month-long holiday at the other end of Australia. Of course living at the sea-side with real people around is different than their lives at the orphanage.
deano
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2007
The outback orphanage (four boys) of the 1950s calls them December Boys is a poignant memoir of friendship and family, outstanding and effective coming-of-age drama I ever watched. Daniel Radcliffe does a wonderful performance in this Aussie film as an older oprhan boy.
ascordeiro108
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2011
It's nothing new and original, it's the same old story about orphans.
Daniel Radcliffe did a good job in the angry bits, but felt a bit awkward acting the love scene.
I liked the ending though.
Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2007
Made me cry...Wonderful.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2008
Sweet story! The boys in this film were absolutely adorable; I wanted to adopt them all myself!
½ January 5, 2013
A well made coming of age story of four boys. It deals well with the relationships that boys can have; one of love and care that is not seen much in movies.
September 15, 2012
Well after David Copperfield, I thought I should try to take a look at Daniel Radcliffe's other films besides Harry Potter. So here's my review for December Boys.

Plot: Four orphan boys that name themselves Maps, Misty, Spark and Spit live in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Australia who called themselves the December Boys because they are all born in December. For their birthday the pastor that runs the orphanage sends them to a holiday at the beach living with a couple that are friends with the pastor. When Misty learns that the couple's neighbors have considered adopting and reluctantly tells it to the others, he and Spark and Spit instatly try to become closer to the neighbors, but Maps becomes distant he becomes more interested in spending time with a teenage girl named Lucy.

Okay this was not that good of a movie. It was nicely acted and the story did roughly get better around the second half of the movie, but unfortunately it's mostly predictable in the sense that you know what mostly these characters are like especially with this mostly being a sort of coming-of-age film, so you can figure out what will happen. Even then, it just had a couple of stuff that was...weird. Mostly with the horse trying to catch fish or just appearing at random times and also the imaginary nuns and stuff that Misty daydreams about.

Actors/Characters:
Daniel Radcliffe/Maps: I think he did a nice job. He wasn't spectacular, especially since he was very quite and kind of just standing there during the first half of the movie, but I think the did a nice job displaying what Maps was going through in the more teenager/young adult. So this wasn't his best film, but at least he gave us a character to care about at the end of the day.
Lee Cormie/Misty: He was...okay. I guess the thing was that in some ways, you can care for this character with him always trying to be good and innocent and really wanting to find a family, but at the same time you may find it a little weird with his daydreams and stuff like that like I did.

And that's my review for December Boys. It had okay acting and at least a couple of things you may enjoy if you like the kind of coming-of-age story, but other then that, it's very predictable, and even weird at some point that at best you should watch if you are a fan of Harry Potter fan that wants to see practically anything with Daniel Radcliffe like me.
December 11, 2011
I enjoyed this movie, partly because Daniel is in it xD It was nice and moving, however, forgettable.
½ January 21, 2012
This film was a great story. A story about 4 orphans growing up and becoming a family. It definitely shows that Daniel Radcliffe isn't just that guy who plays Harry Potter; hopefully he can do some more acting after Harry Potter is over with. It felt like something was missing from the movie, I'm not sure what it was, but I felt slightly empty after it was over, like something wasn't finished. O well. It's good.
October 18, 2007
This was an ok movie. I just wanted to watch it because it had Daniel Radciffe in it and i wanted to see him act in a different movie besides Harry Potter.
January 25, 2011
This movie was really good. The story was touching and the story was so relatable. The actors pull you into the story and you get a feeling as if you know them. Dan Radcliff has really proven himself to be more than just Harry Potter. He is a brilliant actor that charms you in whatever role he plays. The story leaves you with a thought that no matter what your family looks like-they're family.
January 10, 2011
This isn't really a kids' movie, and it doesn't aim to blow its audience away with lots of action or special effects. And it doesn't need any of those things to be good. It takes a while to get interesting, but once it does, it's a wonderful film about four boys who make their own family rather than wishing they had one.
August 2, 2010
Some say this is a bland film, but I like to think of it as a quiet drama with no big happenings. The voice-overs are nicely placed, and this is a nice ensemble piece (even though Radcliffe is clearly the biggest name in the picture, he seems to fit right in with the rest of the cast). Although it is not like most other movies and takes some getting used to [in terms of style and pacing], December Boys is a refreshingly quiet drama with none (or almost none) of the traps of bigger budget dramas.
June 21, 2010
I think I had a pretty idyllic childhood. We certainly weren't rich - my parents were both civil servants - but my life felt rich. The place and time that I call childhood was simple, warm, and easy. This movie is very much like that. There's a carefree feeling that swept over me when I was watching 'December Boys' that I rarely get from a film. It's nostalgic, yes, and I'm sure the writers and the director were shooting for that. But there's something else, something hard to touch at work here. This wasn't the most challenging role Daniel Radcliffe has had, I'm sure, but it had to have been fun to do. The boys who played the younger three lads Spark, Misty and Spit, were perfectly cast and their performances rang true. Rod Hardy's direction was so unlike that of American directors, and that makes it that much better; the film has a feeling of realness and it seems to come genuinely from the heart. For the most part it's an upbeat movie, but there's tragedy too like the death of the fish Henry and the discovery that one of their hosts has cancer. Life's like that. You take the hard times with the good times, and if your disposition is like mine, you just focus on the good memories. This film will be one of those, for me.
½ March 28, 2010
December Boys hints at being an interesting, engaging coming-of-age kind of story. Unfortunately, it misses the mark by trying to focus on too much. From the beginning it seems as though Misty is going to be the main character, what with his adult-self providing voice-over through the early part of the film. However, it is as though the allure of having Harry Potter (erm, Daniel Radcliffe) as a character is too weighty and the film shifts to try and incorporate him more fully. Thus neither of the characters are realized the way they should as Misty does everything in his power to get adopted and Harry Potter (who actually goes by the name Maps here) bumbles around in the throes of puberty discovering kissing, sex, and betrayal. It is an angsty performance befitting Harry Potter.

The irony is that half of the deleted scenes are much better than many of the scenes that actually made it into the final cut, leading me to believe that the director was in way over his head.

Incidentally, I added anywhere between a half a star and a full star for Teresa Palmer's role as the romantic interest for Harry. She was hot, hot stuff.
February 22, 2010
An imperfect film, certainly, but pleasant to watch nonetheless. I thought that the scenario of the vacation to the beach was written beautifully- it unfolds in an uncomplicated way that truly reminded me of any summer outings I experienced with friends. I liked that the boys, although they were raised by Catholic nuns, there were no "Scary Nun" stereotypes. I liked that the couple who took take of them for those few weeks were actually kind, not the go-to uber-strict guardians. I mean, they felt like real people, and were well-acted. I liked the main, bespectaled boy with the hyperactive imagination and his bond with one of the women there.

What I liked least of all was the shaky characterization and plot near the end. In particular, Maps's character was all over the charts, pun intended. Did he want a father? Didn't he? If he didn't, why was he so upset about that revelation? Why spend time dwelling over his father-less-ness when it ultimately doesn't come to anything? And, why couldn't the couple have adopted more than one of them, anyway? Since when do horses eat fish?

This isn't to say that I didn't like Radcliffe's performance. Although not flawless, he has a very open, vulnerable style which lends itself well to many of the characters he's played so far.

All in all, this is a film I would recommend for its overall pleasantness (and fairly realistic dialogue, despite what others may say), but not one to expect greatness from.
½ January 15, 2008
Sweet--indeed, cloying--coming-of-age tale...the barrage of messages it carries ultimately proves too heavy a cargo.
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