Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Will Freeman - Hugh Grant (Sense and Sensibility, Notting Hill)
Marcus - Nicholas Hoult (Skins)
Fiona - Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding, In Her Shoes)
Rachel - Rachel Weitz (Runaway Jury)
Susie - Victoria Smurfit
Ellie - Natalia Tena
I watched this film intially because I'm quite the Hugh Grant fan and it is excellent. This film ranks in my top three. I must have watched it a hundred times. I can't find a bad thing to say about it. I think I love it so much because I can really relate to the main characters, Marcus, Will and Fiona (like Will I believe we live in an island age!). Based on the book by Nick Hornby (which sadly I haven't read) it is the story of an unlikely friendship between Will and Marcus, and how once you open your door to one person, others are sure to find their way in too.
This film showed Hugh Grant move away from his bread and butter role of floppy haired, bumbling, romantic englishman. Ok, he's still an englishman but the floppy hair is gone, and so has the bumbling romantic! Instead Hugh plays a self-centred, promiscous, materialistic loner who spends his days knocking about his gadget filled flat, playing pool, getting his hair done, and bedding young swedish tourists. What a departure for him, and unbelievably, he plays it to perfection.
After years of notching up broken hearts, Will starts to get tired of being the bad guy. When his well intentioned friends set him with a single mum, he is suprised at how well the relationship goes, and even more suprised when single mum finishes it, leaving him as the good guy for a change.
This is the start of a whole new craze for Will. Single mums are perfect - they've usually been treated so badly by the father of their children, that he seems to be a knight in shining armour, and they are very grateful for his affections. What's more, they tend to end the relationship before it gets too serious.
So, in an ill-conceived idea, Will joins SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together), in an attempt to meet these wonderful vunerable creatures. Of course, he is childless, so makes up a two year old called Ned, who lives with Will since his mother ran off with Will's best friend. He is convincing enough to win the support and sympathy of the group, and a date with Susie.
The date with Susie is a picnic, and she brings along her friend's son Marcus, because her friend's not feeling too good.
Marcus is a struggling teenager with a horrific wardrobe and haircut to match. Add to this his mum seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he doesn't fit in at his school (not helped by the fact he unknowingly sings in the middle of class!) and is bullied constantly. His mum, Fiona, is brilliantly played by the excellent actress Toni Collette. A hippy music therapist battling serious depression, she is oblivious to the torment her son is suffering on a regular basis.
When Will and Susie drop Marcus off, they find Fiona slumped on the sofa, having taken an overdose.
Fiona pulls through, and though Suzie is generally unimpressed by him, later Marcus decides Will should marry his mum. His reasoning is that two people isn't enough. If theres only two of you, and one drops off the edge, you're left alone. Will he decides, would make the perfect number three.
When Marcus' matchmaking attempts prove unsucessful, he starts showing up at Will's flat, trying to fill his time, and stop worrying about his mum.
Over time, an unlikely friendship is formed, with Will helping Marcus with his sense of style, and Marcus mellowing Will to the point where he falls in love. The lucky woman is Rachel (Rachel Weitz). Problem is, Will not being or doing anything interesting (he lives off the royalties of a song his father wrote), she quickly loses interest. That is, until Will leads her to believe Marcus is his son.
Meanwhile, Marcus is getting involved with a girl too, by the name of Ellie.
Will Marcus and Will's relationship end up benefiting them both, or is it a disaster in the making?
It's a touching and poignant tale, and it really delves into day to day realities without that Hollywood sheen exaggerating everything out of proportion.
This film offers a well thought out and unusal insight into depression, as it comes mainly from Marcus' point of view. Being a long term sufferer myself, and also having been affected by my mum's long term suffering, I feel suitably versed to comment, and I think it is a very realistic portrayal of depression. It also shows how parents can be so lacking in knowledge as to what their kids lives are like, and how distressing living with bullying can be.
But somehow, it tackles all these issues, without flinching from them in any way, and still manages to be funny, genuinely funny in places. This movie will make you laugh and cry, it really evokes emotion.
The cast is genuinely fantastic. Nicholas Hoult puts in an amazing performance as Marcus. Hugh Grant is suprisingly good, and Toni Collette is excellent as always. I'm not a fan of Rachel Weitz, but there's nothing lacking in her performance either.
Also features an absolutely fantastic soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy. If you don't watch the film, please listen to the CD. I really really love the track Minor Incident.
Feature Commentary with Chris and Paul Weitz
Interview with Badly Drawn Boy
Released in 2002 by Universal Pictures
Run Time 101 min approx
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older