"Everyone Wants a Family"
What You Need To Know:
DECEMBER BOYS has a strong moral Christian worldview from a Catholic perspective, which includes prayer and Scripture reading but also confession and visions of Mary. Some symbolism from Noonan’s novel, however, fails to translate on the screen. Also, the movie contains some objectionable content such as underage smoking, drinking, brief nudity, and teenage sexuality, including an instance of implied fornication.
(CC, BB, Ro, L, V, S, NN, A, D, M) Strong Catholic perspective on a Christian worldview that contains prayer, Scripture reading and a major emphasis on the need for parents, along with Catholic confession, priests and visions of Mary and some elements of Romanticism as emphasis for certain characters is placed on their emotions and girl mentions people from outer space; six obscenities, one profanity and one sequence of young boys urinating; violence includes boys playfully wrestle, some angry fighting between orphans, a boy punches an adult, and an image showing breast cancer; sexual content includes married kissing and underage sensuality, including kissing, some groping and implied fornication (it should be noted that although they were playing underage characters, both actors in these scenes are over 18); nudity includes a shot of upper female nudity at the beach, rear male nudity as young boys “moon” a fellow orphan, naturalistic upper male nudity as boys play on the beach, pictures of women in lingerie as the boys look at lingerie catalogues and young woman cleavage and short skirts; underage alcohol consumption in a few sequences as boys take a bottle of beer to drink and adult characters drink beer in a few scenes; underage cigarette smoking is depicted in several scenes; and, boys lie and sneak around while breaking rules and girl mentions people from outer space.
DECEMBER BOYS is a coming-of-age tale, based on the acclaimed Michael Noonan novel, about four orphan boys (Daniel Radcliffe of the HARRY POTTER movies along with Christian Byers, Lee Cormie and James Fraser) growing up in a Catholic convent in Australia during the 1960s. Although hindered by some underage sensuality, the movie contains a strong moral message about the need and desire for family and the bonds of brotherhood.
As the four December boys watch loving parents adopt the younger kids in the orphanage, they fear their chance at being a part of a family may never come. However, when the convent sends them to visit the seaside for vacation, the boys get excited about the days that lie ahead.
While at the seaside, the boys meet a young couple who are unable to have children and are considering adoption. So, the boys compete to see who might win the affection of the couple. The oldest boy, played by Daniel Radcliffe, meets Lucy, a beautiful girl from down the coast. Rather than focusing his attention on getting adopted by the couple, Radcliffe’s character instead focuses on learning about life and sexuality with Lucy. The other boys’ competition to get adopted heats up, and they find themselves at odds with each other. Their bonds of brotherhood eventually overcome their competition as the boys learn the true meaning of family.
DECEMBER BOYS has some very strong points and some very weak points. All of the boys give wonderful performances and there is a real sense of brotherhood in the characters. The movie is straightforward storytelling with no twists or unexpected turns, and it serves itself well in that respect. The major weak points are revealed in the ways the movie feels as though it has been made from a novel. There are obvious moments in which the author of the novel, Michael Noonan, meant some deeper symbolism that fails to translate into the movie.
Another weak point, which should be considered a cautionary point, is the underage and teenage sexuality. The character of Lucy is very sensuous, and the flirtations and implied fornication between her and Daniel Radcliffe’s character borders on an inappropriate salaciousness.
That said, the movie contains some strong moral messages about family and love and brotherhood; but with its underage sensuality, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for DECEMBER BOYS.