The Boys Are Back (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Boys Are Back (2009)



Critic Consensus: Great performances by Clive Owen and The Boys save this melodrama from entering into the sappy territory it might have in less competent hands.

The Boys Are Back Photos

Movie Info

"The Boys Are Back" is the true story of a man who must suddenly raise his two sons alone after the untimely passing of his second wife. The ill-prepared Joe, who is dealing with his own loss, is confronted with the daily challenges of parenthood while coping with his young son Artie's expressions of grief. They soon are joined by Harry, Joe's teenage son from his first marriage, who brings his own personal "baggage" into the mix. Without a roadmap for how to move forward, the three boys decide its best to leave the conventional rules and responsibilities of the grown-up world behind and lead a life based on the mantra 'just say yes.' When things go terribly awry, Joe is forced to step up and behave like a parent, but must figure out how to do so without completely abandoning the joy and exuberance shared in their more child-like world.

Watch it now

People Who Like this movie also like


Clive Owen
as Joe Warr
Julia Blake
as Barbara
Steven Robertson
as School Housemaster
Daniel William Carter
as Digby & Paula's Son
Adriana Conde
as Digby & Paula's Daughter
Chantal Dwarka
as Digby & Paula's Daughter
Connor Marinos
as Digby & Paula's Son
Elysia Markou
as Digby & Paula's Daughter
Briana Richards
as Digby & Paula's Daughter
Donna Lean
as Artie's Teacher
Johnny Frisina
as Goldfish Boy
Cody Faucett
as Kangaroo Boy
Nathan Page
as Headbutter
Kate Cullen Roberts
as School Secretary
Susie Collins
as Newspaper Office PA
Michael Allen
as Man on Beach
Andy Ciencela
as Man on Beach
Eliza Lovell
as Woman on Beach
Grace Sodeman
as Woman on Beach
Rainey Mayo
as Birthday Party Mother
Alexandra Schepisi
as Birthday Party Mother
Anni Finsterer
as Tennis Journalist
Susie Small
as Smart Party Hostess
Lizzy Falkland
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Susie Fraser
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Ezra Juanta
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Adam Morgan
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Nick Pelomis
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Terry Rogers
as Editorial Meeting Journalist
Krystle Sansom
as Beach Girl
William R. Cox
as Beach Kid
Tim Giessauf
as Beach Kid
Klayton Stainer
as Beach Kid
Tommy Bastow
as Harry's Friend
Rupert Simonian
as Harry's Friend
View All

News & Interviews for The Boys Are Back

Critic Reviews for The Boys Are Back

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (34)

While not rising to the status of first rate, Boys Are Back is interesting and worth seeing.

January 16, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Hicks's directing style is straightforward and unfussy - a description you could apply to this big-hearted film as a whole.

January 22, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

As the film grapples with the tension between the ideals of parenthood and the realities, the script fumbles some key moments.

November 12, 2009 | Full Review…

If The Boys Are Back takes some emotional shortcuts, it still manages to convey some of the more mystifying aspects of parenthood.

October 14, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Owen, not chasing Julia Roberts or anyone else for a change, is pleasant enough making this 100-minute argument for unconventional parenting.

October 14, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A classy, intelligent, low-key affair and a fine reminder of what's really essential to most lives: family.

October 9, 2009 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Boys Are Back

A touching drama with a great melancholy soundtrack by Sigur Rós and an outstanding performance by Clive Owen as an adorable character whose actions you may not agree with but still you empathize with his honest efforts to raise his sons the way he believes to be the best.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Clive Owen is one of my favorite actors, and I've wanted to watch this for quite a while, just never had time and just kept passing it up. Finally got around to watching it and it's just ok. It's a drama about a sports journalist whose wife dies and he is left to raise their son, along with a son who decides to live with him from a previous marriage. Now he has to juggle his grief, his songs grief, his career, being a single dad, and life in general. The movie has some very touching scenes and sad situations. However, the movie is slow and the characters aren't developed enough that you really feel for them. I'm a sucker for movies where kids are heartbroken("Finding Neverland" or "Incredibly Loud and Extremely Loud"), but here the scenes where the boys have breakdowns didn't effect me much. Having said that, the acting is all very good, it's just the story and direction just didn't work all that great for me. It's worth a watch if you are in the mood for a decent drama, but otherwise just skip over it.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer


Would earn a higher rating if not for the overly drawn-out and weepy first act - fair enough, the movie had to show us that the hero really loved his amazing wife so that, when she spoke to him from beyond the grave later on, (or seemed to), the viewer would care... but 30 minutes could have been 10 and the filmmaker could have gotten right down to it, and shown us what is really here: a story about a man emerging from his selfishness and facing what he's done wrong to become a good father again. With beautiful cinematography, excellent child acting, and a standout performance by Clive Owen, you'll be glad you stuck with it to the end, but yeesh, that first half-hour...

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

The Boys Are Back Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features