Release Date: December 15, 2006
Starring: Emily Woof, Stanley Townsend,
Sam Smith, Delroy Lindo, and
Audience: Older children to adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 106 minutes
Distributor: Palm Pictures
Director: Paul Morrison
Executive Producer: Michael Kuhn and Kevin Loader
Producer: Jonny Persey
Writer: Paul Morrison
Address Comments To:Chris Blackwell, Chairman
8409 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: (323) 802-0101
Fax: (323) 802-0123
Set in early 1960s London, young cricket fanatic David Wiseman (played by Sam Smith) collects sports cards, studies professional cricket statistics and dreams of making his school’s cricket team. Regrettably, he is such a poor player he is assigned the position of scorekeeper.
David is fascinated when a black Jamaican family moves in next door, rips out the flowerbeds and turns their small back yard into a cricket batting cage. Most of the neighbors are horrified at the first blacks moving into the neighborhood. Pressure is put on David’s mother Ruth (Emily Woof) to try to get the new neighbors evicted. David’s father, Victor (Stanley Townsend), works very long hours at the family business and has little time for Ruth, David or his little sister. The Wisemans are immigrants themselves, being Jews who escaped Hitler’s Germany.
Dennis Samuels (Delroy Lindo) starts training his daughter Judy (Leonie Elliot) in the finer arts of cricket. David can stand it no longer and shows up in his back yard dressed for a cricket match. Dennis invites David over to play and winds up becoming David’s much-needed cricket trainer. David and his mother become friends with their Jamaican neighbors, much to the chagrin of their other neighbors.
With his new excellent training, David actually makes his school’s team and becomes friends with a number of snobbish boys. David has a birthday party at his house with his teammates as guests. When Judy comes over from next door with a birthday present, David sends her away fearing what those at the party would think. Judy and her family are devastated.
Had the story been about a baseball fanatic growing up in New York, American audiences might identify more clearly with the movie, but the sport and the location are not the heart of this story. Instead, the movie focuses on the racial issue and resolves it with a biblical approach. Faith in God (in both the Jewish and Christian families) drive decisions based on principle. The movie even includes a wonderful scene in a Jamaican church service.
Mistakes are made that are almost painful to watch, but they are recognized, confessed and forgiven. Strong stands are taken, not just against racism, but also against adultery and other sins. The movie contains one questionable word, some violence (including racially-motivated arson) and a scene with some unacceptable affection shown between two married people. Even so, WONDROUS OBLIVION is one of the most inspiring, uplifting movies to come out of England in many years. It may be hard to find in American theaters, but it is a gem worth hunting for even if you wind up just renting the DVD.
WONDROUS OBLIVION has a very strong moral worldview with very strong Christian virtues and references. Mistakes are made that are almost painful to watch, but they are recognized, confessed and forgiven. Strong stands are taken, not just against racism, but against adultery and other sins. The movie contains one questionable word, some violence (including racially motivated arson) and a scene with some unacceptable affection shown between two married people. WONDROUS OBLIVION may be hard to find in American theaters, but it is a gem worth hunting for even if you wind up just renting the DVD.