Son of Rambow

Film, Comedy
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Garth Jennings’s last film, ‘The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, had visual imagination to burn, but was less sure-footed when it came to plot and character. It’s a pleasure, then, to find that his follow-up shows just as much wit and verve in its production design, while also succeeding as storytelling: ‘Son of Rambow’ is a schoolboy yarn with a bracing emotional honesty
that packs a real kick.

Jennings takes us to the early ’80s Home Counties suburbia of his youth for the story of two mismatched pre-teens. Will (Bill Milner) is the sheltered son of a strict religious family, whose father has died in the Falklands and has never even watched TV; Lee (Will Poulter) is the tougher wide-boy, a latchkey kid who bullies and then befriends Will as they embark on a homemade VHS opus, after seeing a pirate copy of ‘First Blood’.

Meanwhile, a group of French exchange students descend on the school, including one particular guy who constitutes a New Wave all of his own. Will is a keen doodler, and his sketches burst out across the countryside in playful CGI, but there’s also great entertainment in the boys’ lo-tech Heath-Robinson production plans.

Backyard remakes are very much of the moment – think Michel Gondry’s ‘Be Kind Rewind’  – but ‘Son of Rambow’ integrates its slapstick genre pastiche into a thoughtful story about peer pressure, neglect and yearning. Both Milner and Poulter are terrific; their performances, along with a keen eye for the indignities of the playground, help keep things the right side of sentimentality.



Release details

Release date:
Friday April 4 2008
95 mins

Cast and crew

Garth Jennings
Garth Jennings
Bill Milner
Will Poulter
Jules Sitruk
Jessica Stevenson
Zofia Brooks
Neil Dudgeon
Tallulah Evans
Adam Godley
Jessica Hynes