What You Need To Know:
(H, B, L, V, S, M) Humanism with minor, loosely-biblical elements; 1 obscenity & 1 vulgarity; self injury by child & implied suicide; celibacy questioned; and, boy urinates in woods (no nudity), cigarette smoking, & mature themes of death of loved ones & abandonment.
SECOND BEST is the bittersweet story of a single, Welsh postmaster, Graham Holt (played by William Hurt), who desperately wants a family of his own and attempts to adopt a child. Living in a tiny village in the Welsh countryside, 42-year-old Graham has had little life outside of caring for his invalid father. The boy that the adoption agency finds for him is 10-year-old James, whose father left him at an orphanage just before entering prison sentence. With a troubled past that he has yet to face and a penchant for self-mutilation, James is devoted to his father and resentful of anyone attempting to take his place. Both Graham and James must come to terms with their own unresolved pasts while they attempt to begin an entirely new family.
Shot almost entirely in the beautiful countryside of Wales, SECOND BEST is a warm, strangely uplifting film. With beautiful cinematography, music and performances (with the notable exception of a weak Welsh accent by Hurt), the quality of the film is high. There are, however, mature themes of abandonment and death, and the scenes that depict James’ self-inflicted injuries are disturbing, if not particularly graphic, making this suitable for only the most mature teenager.