Video Rec: Son of Rambow

Son of Rambow written and directed by Garth Jennings, starring Bill Milner and Will Poulter.  SofR takes place in the early 1980s in a small town somewhere in England.  It details how Will (Milner), a 10 year old boy whose family holds to strict non-technological almost Amish-like beliefs, and Lee, a troublemaker being haphazardly raised by his older brother meet up, become pals, and decide to make a movie.  Will views a bootleg copy of Stallone’s infamous First Blood at Lee’s house (the first movie or television he’s ever seen) and comes up with his own story that incorporates elements of John Rambo’s exploits with his own creativity.

Will is the kind of kid who fills up notebooks with sketches, little animation cells, and the beginnings of stories, and he soon turns his mind to creating scenes for his movie.  Lee is the kind of kid who steals what he needs to film a scene and thinks it’s cool to goad Will into doing his own stunts.  Both of them are lonely for various reasons and both of them are fatherless – Will’s having died of an aneurysm and Lee’s having gone to the store and never come back.

They start to recruit other kids to help in the filming, including a tres popular French exchange student, and there’s a fair amount of early 80s pop cultural goodness.  Hilarious scenes of pre-teens and young teens obviously trying to incorporate what was happening in London at the time with their own sense of cool.  Of course Will and Lee end up at odds over the creative process and their friendship, and each of them has to confront the bigger issues of their situations.

SofR is nostalgic, strong on sentiment, and smartly done.  Writer/director Jennings was last seen presiding over A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and he’s clearly in his element here.  Hopefully we see more from him.  This is the kind of movie you may not have heard about, but it’s definitely worth adding to your queue or seeking out at your local video store.

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