December Boys

Movies, Drama
2 out of 5 stars

Four Australian orphans are treated to a Christmas vacation at a remote beach community, and all we got was this treacly, loopy movie. It takes a bold or tin-eared writer to include in one film: a teen romance; a woman dying of cancer; a couple who can’t have children and weigh adoption; a grizzled fisherman and the giant fish he’s been trying to catch for years; a wild horse who wanders in and out of the plot like a big symbolic whatsit; and a guy lying about being a circus performer to impress people. It’s as if four or five different movies are battling for attention.

The four orphans (Radcliffe, Byers, Cormie, Fraser) dream of being taken away by new parents, though Radcliffe’s character, Maps (they all have cute nicknames), is pragmatic enough to know that when your balls drop so do your chances of being adopted. So while the other three spend their holiday competing to see who can charm the childless couple (Hill and Stapleton) and win the adoption sweepstakes, Radcliffe gets a romance with Palmer, the only other teen for miles, who is conveniently hot to trot and has a cool record collection. Meanwhile, the lovable older couple hosting the orphans (Thompson and McQuade) deal with the wife’s impending death, the fisherman dreams big fishy dreams, and the pony makes cameos.

With so many threads and so little time, Hardy and his editor cut between scenes with a jumpiness that suggests there’s another hour of material on the cutting-room floor. Not that we want to see any of it.


Release details

Cast and crew

Rod Hardy
Marc Rosenberg
Daniel Radcliffe
Teresa Palmer
Christian Byers
Lee Cormie
James Fraser
Sullivan Stapleton
Victoria Hill
Jack Thompson
Ralph Cotterill