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Wondrous Oblivion (2003)

tomatometer

65

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 14

This coming-of-age/cricket tale wants to be touching, but is too often sappy.

69

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

This coming-of-age/cricket tale wants to be touching, but is too often sappy.

audience

70

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,476

My Rating

Movie Info

Writer/director Paul Morrison, who directed the cross-cultural period drama Solomon and Gaenor, returns to similar ground, though in a lighter vein, with Wondrous Oblivion. Sam Smith stars as David Wiseman, a Jewish boy living in London in 1960 who dreams of being a world-class athlete. David is totally obsessed with cricket, and loves playing, even though he is one of the worst players at his school. His parents, Ruth (Emily Woof of The Full Monty) and Victor (Stanley Townsend), are struggling

Mar 20, 2007

Palm Pictures

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (14) | DVD (6)

Wondrous Oblivion is a timeless tale of an 11-year-old South London boy putting aside boyish things. Writer-director Paul Morrison affirms PG-rated life lessons that could appeal to 11-year-olds and their elders alike.

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its bright-hued nostalgia (the cricket greens are practically incandescent), Wondrous Oblivion edges up to hard truths, most powerfully expressed in Lindo's towering performance.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You don't have to know anything about the sport of cricket to be charmed by Wondrous Oblivion, a British film that is finally getting a well-deserved theatrical release after opening the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in 2004.

December 22, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a delight to see Delroy Lindo -- perpetually cast as tough cops and tougher crooks -- playing a tender father and decent (if struggling) husband.

November 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film feels like the Cliffs Notes version of what might have been a much longer and certainly more satisfying story.

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It loses direction, turning contrived and sentimental.

November 3, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The challenges of friendship across color lines.

June 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Evocative, beautifully photographed and skillfully directed.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

David's favorite exclamation is "wondrous!" %u2014 which happens to be a fitting description for the talents of writer/director Paul Morrison.

February 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

A touching rite-of-passage flick which simultaneously sends several valuable messages about friendship, fidelity, tolerance, and reaching for the stars.

December 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine
Upstage Magazine

...Thanks to solid performances and very nice cinematography, it hits, if not a home run, at least a solid double (or the British equivalent).

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

A family film with a difference, Wondrous Oblivion displays real bite as it incisively tackles such adult subjects as racism, anti-Semitism, adultery and the plight of immigrants in an intolerant land.

November 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Amid the mawkish mess rests a genuinely touching love story between two people who are considered outcasts by mainstream society. Too bad they're not the stars of the movie.

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

It's sweet-as-pie, nicely acted and boasts a marvelous vintage ska-reggae-calypso soundtrack featuring some of the best, bounciest songs of the era, including 'Sugar Dandy,' 'Rudi, A Message to You' and of course, Millie Small's 'My Boy Lollipop.'

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A small and intimate English film about playing cricket, coming of age, and the respect for diversity that seems so hard to learn.

November 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Wondrous Oblivion

[font=Century Gothic]"Wondrous Oblivion" takes place in South London in 1960 where David Wiseman(Sam Smith) is the child of Jewish refugees(Emily Woof & Stanley Townsend). He attends a private school where despite his love for the sport of cricket, he cannot play a lick. One day, the Wisemans get new neighbors from Jamaica. The father(Delroy Lindo) builds a cricket pitch in his backyard to coach his daughter, Judy(Leonie Elliott), in the sport. And soon he is also coaching David, too...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Wondrous Oblivion" is an amiable bit of anti-nostalgia that is well-meaning to the hilt. It deftly avoids the sugarcoating that usually occurs with coming-of-age movies, in order to explore the racism and prejudice of the day, while also promoting the broadening of one's horizons. The movie is about how a society improves and diversifies itself by embracing the children of immigrants by way of the dominant culture. In the movie, this is embodied in cricket(And there is a creative use for a cricket ball in the movie.) where playing and having fun are important, not winning. [/font]
November 14, 2007
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

The term "Coming of Age" has become somewhat of a cliché, but director Paul Morrison has given audiences such a well-crafted, beautifully-rendered tale, that an obligatory inclusion by this reviewer of the term will be quite forgiven here. Think: Air Raid Araby. It tends to be heavy-handed at times, but the spot-on performances carry the weight splendidly.

In this PG-13-rated drama Wondrous Oblivion, a young Jewish boy (Sam Smith III) learns to tackle adversity in post-war 1940s England after his Jamaican neighbors teach him the game of cricket.

A cross between Barry Levinson's American fable Avalon and the British hit Billy Elliot, Wondrous Oblivion wears its well-worn adversity theme like a badge...but, because the scenario is wholly original, not to point of being over-bearing. Rather, this import plays out breezily, stumbling only slightly when the story veers off into an unnecessary sub-plot featuring the boy's mother (Woof) and mentor neighbor (Lindo). Should they remain oblivious to this rub, however, moviegoers will enjoy two hours of near-wonderment.

Bottom line: Wondrously told.
July 17, 2010
Jeff B.
Jeff Boam

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Davids wundersame welt (DE)
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