"Not Entirely Family Friendly"
What You Need To Know:
The trailers of SON OF RAMBOW make the movie look like a very funny family movie, but it is rated PG-13, so it contains some of the foul language associated with that rating. Also, some of the foul language comes from the lips of Will’s new friend, Lee. Furthermore, the movie takes a dim view of the restraints on Will’s “freedom” and “creativity” by the religious leaders at his mother’s church. This Romantic, anti-religious worldview prevents the movie from being as entertaining and inspiring as it could have been, especially for family viewers.
(RoRo, C, B, HH, PCPC, AbAb, M) Strong Romantic worldview about personal freedom and imagination, with two or three prayers or appeals to God in a Christian context and a Christian boy as a protagonist, but the boy rebels against the strict rules of his family’s legalistic Plymouth Brethren church and his widowed mother eventually leaves that fellowship, so the movie seems to have a strong politically correct humanist worldview against religion with no balance; four obscenities, four strong profanities and four light profanities; strong slapstick violence with dangerous looking stunts when children make action movie such as boy flung over objects, people hit with objects, falls, fighting, and two near drownings; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; underage smoking; and, lying, bully extorts father’s watch from another boy, bullying, and strange sequence where kids hold a secret party with strange forms of candy that may remind some of psychedelic drug parties in the 1960s.
SON OF RAMBOW is a quirky, partly autobiographical tale, set in the early 1980s. It’s about a young British boy from a weird offshoot of the Plymouth Brethren group of non-denominational Christians, who gets involved with making his own movie after seeing a Rambo movie for the first time.
Young Will Proudfoot is denied music, TV and movies by his strict widowed mother, who belongs to an exclusive Christian sect. At public school, Will has an encounter with the school bully, a foul-mouthed boy named Lee Carter, who gets Will into trouble. Will allows Lee Carter to make him a kind of slave. Lee wants Will to help him shoot an action movie. For the first time in his life, Will watches a movie at Lee’s place. The movie turns out to be FIRST BLOOD, the first Rambo movie starring Sylvester Stallone.
Watching the movie completely mesmerizes Will, who enjoys shooting crazy action stunts with Lee Carter. In one crazy stunt, Will is flung impossibly high over some junkyard junk. Will lies to his mother about what he’s doing. Then, the other children in the school hear about the movie Lee and Will are making, including a New Wave-punk French exchange student. Will lets them get involved with making the movie, but this drives a wedge between Will and his new chum.
Meanwhile, a leader in the Christian sect courting Will’s mother becomes increasingly suspicious of Will’s activities as well as his mother’s apparently growing inability to control Will. He doesn’t know it, but things in Will’s life are headed toward a collision course.
The previews of SON OF RAMBOW make the movie look like a very funny family movie, but the movie is rated PG-13, so it contains some of the foul language associated with that rating. Also, some of the foul language comes from the lips of Will’s new friend, Lee, who also smokes in one scene. Furthermore, the movie takes a dim view of the restraints on Will’s “freedom” and “creativity” by the religious leaders at the mother’s church. As such, it fails to make a proper distinction between the kind of Christian legalism that completely forbids things like music and television and the biblical morality that advocates moderation, discernment, wisdom, self-discipline, self-control, and purity.
While there may be are some Plymouth Brethren sects that completely forbid television and all forms of music, such rules apparently are not representative of all or even most Plymouth Brethren congregations. In fact, the depiction of the Plymouth Brethren in SON OF RAMBOW seems more like a heretical separatist group in the Brethren known as the Taylorites, who believe in extreme isolation and who don’t believe in the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, therefore, there is no balance to the movie’s presentation of a Christian sect, nor to its presentation of such ideals as liberty and creativity. In effect, Will’s newfound rebellion, mendacity and obsession with movies prove the dire warnings from his church leaders about getting involved in worldly things. The movie sees that as a good thing, however, because Will becomes fast friends with another boy, Lee Carter, who profanes the name of the Lord. Consequently, SON OF RAMBOW is not as inspiring and entertaining as it could have been and it seems to deserve an excessive rating of Minus 3. Viewers, especially parents, children and teenagers, need to approach SON OF RAMBOW with more than extreme caution, even though some critics may enjoy its quirky, offbeat style.