About a Boy (2002)



Critic Consensus: About a Boy benefits tremendously from Hugh Grant's layered performance, as well as a funny, moving story that tugs at the heartstrings without tilting into treacle.

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Will is a 36-year-old underachiever with a fear of commitment that leads him to seek out relationships with single mothers, on the assumption that they are more desperate. However, plans go awry when he befriends with Marcus, the weird 12-year-old son of his latest target. Soon, Will and Marcus become friends, and as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will finally to grow up.
PG-13 (for brief strong language and some thematic elements)
Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Hugh Grant
as Will
Rachel Weisz
as Rachel
Sharon Small
as Christine
Madison Cook
as Imogen
Jordan Cook
as Imogen
Laura Kennington
as Ellie's Friend #1
Tanika Swaby
as Ellie's Friend #2
Peter McNicholl
as Ellie's Friend #3
Christopher Webster
as Ellie's Friend #4
Jack Warren
as Lee's Sidekick
Russell Barr
as Maitre D'
Orlando Thor Newman
as Angie's Kid
Paulette Williams
as Bitter Ex-Girlfriend #1
Fritha Goodey
as Bitter Ex-Girlfriend #2
Susannah Doyle
as Bitter Ex-Girlfriend #3
Delma Walsh
as Bitter Ex-Girlfriend #4
John Kamal
as Nicky
Tessa Vale
as Class Teacher
Lorna Dallison
as Woman in Supermarket
Bethany Muir
as Child in Supermarket
Jenny Galloway
as SPAT #2
Sue Hyams
as SPAT Woman #1
Maggie Kahal
as SPAT Woman #2
Lynn Askew
as SPAT Woman #3
Beverly Milward
as SPAT Woman #4
Danielle Harvey
as SPAT Woman #5
Sarah King
as SPAT Woman #7
Susan Ghamsary
as SPAT Woman #8
Edna Johnson
as SPAT Woman #9
Frog Stone
as Mothercare Shop Assistant
Buddy Hunter
as Family Member #1 in Mothercare Car Park
Kristine Perrin
as Family Member #2 in Mothercare Car Park
Nathan Perrin-Hunter
as Family Member #3 in Mothercare Car Park
Rachael Perrin-Hunter
as Family Member #4 in Mothercare Car Park
Amy Craven
as Suzie's Baby Megan
Sydney Livingstone
as Park Keeper
Joanne Petitt
as Hairdresser
Jason Salkey
as Amnesty International Worker Tom
Annabelle Apsion
as Amnesty International Worker #1
Matt Wilkinson
as Amnesty International Worker #2
Peter Roy
as Will's Dad
Matthew James Thomas
as Candy Thrower #1
Aaron Keeling
as Candy Thrower #2
Scott Charles
as Candy Thrower #3
Claire Harman
as Skechers Shopgirl
Sian Martin
as Cute Waitress
Mark Drewry
as Clive
Rosalind Knight
as Lindsey's Mum
Murray Lachlan Young
as New Year's Eve Party Guest
Alex Kew
as Simon Cosgrove
Mark Heap
as Math Teacher
James Marshall-Gunn
as Def Penalty Kru #2
Jamie Mayer
as Def Penalty Kru #3
Korede Obashju
as Def Penalty Kru #4
Roger Brierley
as Mr. Chalmers, the M.C.
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Critic Reviews for About a Boy

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (45)

Even people who don't usually like Hugh Grant will be charmed by him in the scrappy, slightly scandalous comedy About a Boy.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The directors Paul and Chris Weitz -- the American Pie brothers -- have tried hard not to make a tearjerker, and at its best the movie is knowing and tart.

February 10, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Mainstream comedies should all be this funny and tender and deftly performed.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Top Critic

Will is a flintier, more sarcastic and impatient character than we've seen Grant play, yet there's a core of decency about him.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Hugh Grant hilariously redefines the word "playboy" in the first half of this film, then gets human, without losing his comic edge, under the influence of the title waif.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

About a Boy is better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for About a Boy


Nicey nice British comedy. Not even remotely believable in any way. It has not stood up to a rewatch. I remember initially enjoying this, but over 10 years later, the message is a bit irritating, and so is Toni Collette here. Still, if you don't dig too deep, it is enjoyable enough. Not a must see, but sugary fluff for the background.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

"I am an island. I am bloody Ibiza!" Based on Nick Hornby's best-selling novel, About A Boy is the story of a cynical, immature young man who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.

I think I smiled all the way through `About a Boy,' a comic near-masterpiece derived from the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby. For the sake of accuracy, both the novel and the film should more rightly be titled `About Two Boys,' since the story focuses not only on 12-year old Marcus, but on 38-year old Will, a man totally dedicated to the proposition that any man who so desires can live quite happily on his own private little urban island, thank you very much. Will's `island' is his own London flat, which he has equipped with all the accoutrements of comfort and diversion that modern technology - in the form of computers, big screen TV's and DVD players - can afford. Who needs people when you have so much `stuff' to keep you content and occupied? Will thrives in his environment, much to the chagrin of his married couple friends who keep insisting that he must certainly be miserable without a wife and family to give his life meaning. `About a Boy' establishes a tone and sticks with it to the end. The screenplay by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (the latter two function as the film's directors as well) manages to take a potentially clichéd and predictable story and invest it with a warmth, wit and tenderness that are all-enveloping. The voice-over narration by both Will and Marcus, which introduces us to their characters and keeps us informed as to their mental progress throughout the film, is remarkably clever and droll. Yet, the characters never come across as smug, smart-alecky or flippant. Rather, they speak and behave in ways that are both believable and realistic. Hugh Grant gives his richest performance to date as Will, the man who refuses to grow up and assume the role of responsible adult, blithely unaware of the emotional depths that lie hidden under a surface of apathy and indifference. The superb Grant is more than matched by then newcomer Nicholas Hoult, an extraordinarily gifted young actor who doesn't look like the average `adorable' screen kid, and who makes Marcus into a very real, very likable and very sensitive young man. The remainder of the large cast is outstanding as well. Moreover, the film is very astute in its observation about just how easy technology has made it for us to isolate ourselves from one another.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer


Jason Spencer
Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

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