"Bandaging Emptiness and Selfishness"
ABOUT A BOY is the story of a cynical, immature man who is taught by a boy how to act like a grown-up. Filled with excessive profanity and dark themes, the story showcases the darkness of humanistic solutions to loneliness and self-absorption.
ABOUT A BOY begins with Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) declaring that Jon Bon Jovi was wrong when he said, “No man is an island.” Will is a late-thirty-something single guy living off the royalties from a Christmas jingle his estranged father had written decades earlier. His resulting life of fast cars, cool apartments and elusive schedules suits him just fine. He admits that even island dwellers must visit the mainland from time to time, however, so he dates a few gals that will not expect any commitment from him. Soon, he discovers that the best group of gals to date is the single moms group. These ladies, he reasons, live lives too volatile to enable them to settle down, and therefore they are safe targets for an islander.
Will’s cousins soon ask him to be the godfather of their new baby girl. Will answers that he would rather eat a diaper. He explains what a horrid godfather he would be in that there is absolutely no point to his life and no feelings for children whatsoever. The cousins are stunned and say, “We thought you had hidden depths.” Will denies it, saying, “No, I’m actually really this shallow!” Later, he tells himself, “You have to mean things to help people. I didn’t mean anything to anyone or care about anyone. That guaranteed me a long, depression-free life.”
Following his quest to have “guiltless, passionate sex with single moms,” Will signs up for a support group called “S.P.A.T,” or “Single Parents Alone Together,” where he pretends to have a young son. He lands a date with one of the moms, and they go out on a picnic. The young mom not only brings her own toddler, but she has invited Marcus (Nicholas Hault), the troubled pre-teen son of her best friend, Fiona, a lady continually fighting depression and suicide.
Due to some strange and somewhat darkly comical sets of circumstances, “heaven” throws Will and Marcus together, and the troubled perspectives of each are quickly challenged. As Marcus shares his school dilemmas, Will gives him this advice: “Try to stay invisible,” which is obviously his own philosophy of life. When one of Will’s secrets is discovered, Marcus becomes even more enmeshed in Will’s life, and he challenges his friend at a whole new level.
When Will starts truly falling for a great lady, Marcus has the power to make or break the relationship. When some things in Marcus’s life start falling apart, Will must decide whether or not he has the depth to recognize and care about the things that mean something to others when they have no bearing on his own life. He must decide whether to risk the loss of his personal interests in order to save his new friend or revert back to his old selfish islander ways.
Filled with excessive foul language, ABOUT A BOY is a great but dark study on the futility of human effort and reasoning without the hope based in a relationship with the One True Savior, Jesus Christ. The movie explores many grave issues such as the helplessness of the depressed, the parental inversion trap of a child taking care of his own mother, the loneliness of self-absorption, the lies that the world system espouses, and the relativism of no-commitment relationships that leads to pessimism and despair.
Though well-acted and pithy at times, the movie is heavy and hopeless, even with the story’s solution to “get real and get involved” in the lives of others. That solution does not go far enough. Though finding realness and selflessness in relationships is wonderful, the human heart cup will never be truly satisfied outside the loving embrace of the Lord. To have our personal identity in cars, money, prestige, or even real relationships always falls short in the end. Relationships are often for a season, and the world system can never give us lasting peace. As believers, our identity rests in the fact that we abide in the heart of a God that adores us, and from that position springs lasting and overflowing hope for the human heart.
(HH, Ro, PC, Ho, LLL, VV, S, A, D, M) Highly humanistic worldview depicting the despair, emptiness and self-focus of a life without Christ; Romantic worldview elements with relativistic, emotion-based choices made; politically correct portrayals of strong vegetarianism theme & language suggesting that “couples are not the future; you need backup (in families, due to divorce)”; homosexual subplot; strong language with roughly 56 obscenities and 6 profanities (though some of the British slang was difficult to categorize); violence includes the depiction of the after-effects of suicide; allusions to fornication, but nothing shown & veiled discussion of and false accusations of a possible homosexual affair; no nudity; several scenes showing alcohol, drug and tobacco use; and, lots of lying, character fights depression and suicide and child forced to care for his unstable, suicidal mother.
ABOUT A BOY stars Hugh Grant as Will, a single guy living off the royalties from a Christmas jingle his father had written. Will’s his resulting life of fast cars, cool apartments and elusive schedules suits him just fine. Believing that single moms are a safe group, he lands a date with one, who introduces him to Marcus, the troubled pre-teen son of her best friend. Due to strange and darkly comical circumstances, “heaven” throws Will and Marcus together, and the troubled perspectives of each are quickly challenged. Will gives Marcus this advice: “Try to stay invisible.” When one of Will’s secrets is discovered, Marcus becomes even more enmeshed in Will’s life. He challenges his friend’s selfishness at a whole new level.
Filled with excessive foul language, ABOUT A BOY is a well-made but dark study on the futility of human effort and reasoning without the hope based in a relationship with the One True Savior, Jesus Christ. The movie explores many grave issues such as the helplessness of the depressed, the problems of single parents, the loneliness of self-absorption, and the pessimism and despair of superficial relationships. Its solution, however, is humanistic.