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About a Boy [DVD] [2002]

102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult, Sharon Small, Chris Weitz
  • Directors: Chris & Paul Weitz
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Dec. 2002
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063W20
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,843 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Hugh Grant takes the lead role as aimless, commitment-shy, thirtysomething Will in this adaptation of Nick Hornby's bestseller. Living on the royalties of a hit song his father wrote 40 years ago, Will drifts through life, moving from one relationship to the next with little lasting effect. But when he hits upon the new idea of dating single-mothers, he soon finds himself entangled with the suicidal Fiona (Toni Colette) and her 12-year-old-son Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). As he and Marcus gradually develop a friendship, Will begins to reassess the selfish life he has been living.


The film version of Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy takes a deeper though no less entertaining approach than the easy laughs of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity. The "coming together" of idle playboy Will (Hugh Grant) and put-upon loner Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) is a revealing tale of self-understanding and role reversal. Will finds that being yourself is of little consequence without a defining human context, while Marcus finds that pleasing others counts for little without a degree of self-confidence. How they arrive at this complementary awareness is the intriguing subject matter of the film, involving well-meaning single mothers, difficult adolescents and helpless older adults. Yet there's a wider significance to all this in the guise of human stereotypes--how we fall into them and how we can try to get out of them.

The film's wit and amusement comes down to deft and understated directing from Chris and Paul Weitz, and a snappily crafted screenplay from Peter Hedges and the Weitz brothers. Grant clips his hair as well as his vowels for a believable and ultimately sympathetic Will--by far his best performance since Four Weddings and a Funeral. As Marcus, Hoult is convincingly self-dependent, but could have been even more self-absorbed. Toni Colette is a dead-ringer for the well-meaning but ineffectual hippie mother Fiona, while Rachel Weisz gives her best screen performance to date as the attractive and vulnerable Rachel, with whom Will comes of age emotionally. Badly Drawn Boy's soundtrack will delight those who enjoy his brand of reconstituted 1970s Dylan; the title track has a wistful charm and there's a gem of an instrumental in the "Countdown" sequence. About a Boy is in the best traditions of British comedy: enlightening as it amuses, it's a film to enjoy and come back to. --Richard Whitehouse

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
Will is self centred and has cast off all his responsibilities. But during one of his more dubious scams to date single mothers, he is forced to reconsider his moral fibre after coming into contact with a 12 year old outcast named Marcus.

Adapted from the massively popular book written by Nick Hornby {Fever Pitch & High Fidelity} About A Boy easily translates well to the screen without truly breaking free of the modest premise. Oddly enough for such a British picture, this is directed by an American, Paul Weitz, who along with his brother Chris, brought the world American Pie! It works, largely to the undervalued comic talents of one Hugh Grant {Will}. I would go so far as to say that without Grant leading the film, this would have been a flop, all the highlights on offer are when Grant is on the screen. Expressive with his face and delivering his lines with a natural high, Grant nicely lures the audience into the less than admirable Will's hands. Which is quite a trick considering that Will is a morally dubious scum bag!

Nicholas Hoult {Marcus} is OK as child actors go, but here he is given far to much to do. Which is another reason why Grant is so important to the film being a success, he shoulders much of the emotional burden, letting Hoult breathe what life he can into poor young Marcus {worst hair cut on film ever}. Solid support comes from Toni Collette and Rachael Weisz, and Weitz's direction is smooth and unobtrusive, with Badly Drawn Boy's score an integral part of the story. Yet as much as I enjoy the film myself, I still feel frustrated that it didn't turn out better than it did. A double handed narration from both lead characters intrudes on the flow of the plot, and the pay off is ultimately an "oh" moment. So to me it's an OK movie made into a good one courtesy of one of Britain's best light comedy actors. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stampy on 3 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD
Middle aged bachelor Will (Grant) gets more than he bargained for when he meets Malcolm (Hoult) a young lad who wants a partner for his suicidal mum.

Hugh Grant, the romantic guy of the nineties. You may ask what makes About a Boy different from every other romance films. Why should you spend time watching a film that could easily be a repeat of another one of his flicks?

With his roles in films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, his characters were always chasing the girl but there is more to Will than these stereotypical parts. He is not Prince Charming. He is not a babbling geek. He is a git. A man with no regard for anything but himself. Grant has made Will the man any viewer would love to hate. But yet he manages to be unbelievably funny and charming, and you can't help but love him. Grant here has shed that everyday loveable loser who can't commit into a man with personal baggage and an agenda. Juxtaposed with Nicholas Holt and you have a fine onscreen duo.

Little would we know that the lad playing Malcolm would become a teenage hero in award winning teenage gritty drama Skins. This well thought out debut performance puts faith back into the future.

The stereotypical geek protagonist is ridiculed too often by picking up on media conventions such as computers, glasses and vast knowledge etc. But there is a spin here because Malcolm is called a geek because of his appearance. The baggy hippy clothes, the bowl haircut and the solo singing make him an outcast and he is labelled a geek for it and here we explore the depths of his character and though he is portrayed as a geek on the outside he is a child wanting love on his inside, a fine representation.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Dec. 2003
Format: DVD
This film is brilliant and a really good adaptation of the book. I read the book first and loved it and decided to see the film. Only the ending had changed dramtically, and it was a good idea as the book ends wonderfully but would not transfer well onto the big screen.
I loved the way that one minute you were laughing out loud and the next you felt like crying for Marcus and Hugh Grant's character Will.
Its a great film that all Hugh Grant fans will love but even if you hate his work you will like this, its a completely different character to the simpering bloke you see in some of his other films. Also good in this were Toni Collette of Sixth Sense fame, and Rachel Weiz a.k.a Evelyn from The Mummy.
A big promise for the future is shown in Nicholas Hault playing Marcus of which half of the movie rests on his young shoulders. He pulls it off amazingly well and the solo at the end is just so good in its cringworthiness!!!
See the film and read the book, in either order because they both brilliant!!!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Film Fan on 6 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
Grant plays, Will, a rich, lazy and irresponsible 38 year old, with little better to occupy his time than a daily dose of Countdown and chasing women. He strikes upon the idea of meeting single-mums, his rational being that they are easy prey and as a result of one of his liaisons, his life becomes complicated by the introduction of Marcus. Marcus, (Nicholas Hoult) is a twelve year old with a lot of problems on his hands, he is bullied and laughed at school, his hippy-ish, vegan mother has tried to kill herself and permanently looks like she is on the verge of doing it again, but his outlook is surprisingly mature. He strikes up a sort of friendship with Will and what entails is a charming tale of how man educates boy, and in turn boy unwittingly educates man.
Much had been made of Hugh Grant's new haircut for the film, gone the floppy fringe and in it's place a new spikier messed up look. Well he may have a new haircut, but he is as likeable as ever, playing something slightly sharper and more complex than the amiable buffoon and delivering an excellent performance. Hoult as Marcus makes an adequate if slightly unspectacular debut, but there is good support from the ever dependable Toni Collette, Victoria Smurfitt and Rachel Weisz. The Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack is excellent even if towards the end the songs begin to sound a little over-familiar.
Overall, I think Hornby can be pleased that his book has been reasonably faithfully interpreted. A few minor changes have occurred (from what I can remember of the book) but as a film by itself, this is a frequently amusing, interesting, bitter sweet drama that is perfect for a night in with the girlfriend.
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