6.5/10
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32 user 67 critic

December Boys (2007)

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One summer, four orphans boys who have grown to be the closest of friends find themselves competing for the attention of the same family.

Director:

Rod Hardy

Writers:

Ronald Kinnoch (story), Michael Noonan (novel) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Radcliffe ... Maps
Lee Cormie ... Misty
Christian Byers ... Sparks
James Fraser ... Spit
Jack Thompson ... Bandy
Teresa Palmer ... Lucy
Sullivan Stapleton ... Fearless
Victoria Hill ... Teresa
Max Cullen ... Narrator / Adult Misty
Kris McQuade ... Mrs. McAnsh
Ralph Cotterill Ralph Cotterill ... Shellback
Frank Gallacher Frank Gallacher ... Father Scully
Paul Blackwell Paul Blackwell ... Watson
Judi Farr Judi Farr ... Reverend Mother
Carmel Johnson Carmel Johnson ... Sister Beatrice
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Storyline

An adult nicknamed Misty is narrating a story about one summer in his life when he was an adolescent in the late 1960s. He was living in a Catholic orphanage in the Australian outback. His best mates were the "December boys" - Maps, Spark and Spit - the four of them so named because they were the boys in the orphanage born in the month of December. With a recent windfall, the orphanage decided to give each of the boys a group vacation for each of their birthdays, the December boys the first to go. Their vacation was to Lady Star Cove on the Australian coast, to stay at the home of Mrs. and Mrs. McAnsh - Bandy and "Skipper". Their relatively carefree Christmas vacation took a turn primarily from three events: learning the reason the McAnshes hosted the boys specifically at this time; Maps, the oldest in his mid-teens, exploring his sexuality with a girl named Lucy, who was also visiting Lady Star Cove for the summer; and Misty secretly learning that a young couple in the cove, Fearless... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

After that summer nothing would ever be the same again. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity, underage drinking and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia | Germany | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

20 September 2007 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Un verano para toda la vida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,810, 16 September 2007

Gross USA:

$50,715

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,175,579
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official publicity for this picture declared that this film "marks Daniel Radcliffe's first major role outside the 'Harry Potter' character". See more »

Goofs

(at around 22 mins) The vehicle is shown driving down the right hand side of the road whereas Australia requires driving on the left side. See more »

Quotes

Maps: Just remember Misty, no matter what, you're still a December boy.
See more »


Soundtracks

December Boys
Composed and Sung by Peter Cincotti
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: December Boys
10 November 2007 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

The buzz for December Boys surely points to how Daniel Radcliffe will fare sans cloak, glasses and lightning bolt scar on his forehead, to star in a movie that's totally out of the Harry Potter franchise. Gone are the fantastical elements and scores of ready, adoring fans, and in comes a serious dramatic piece about the coming of age, growing up, and raging hormones. Wait, Harry Potter is about that too doesn't it, although it stretches over 7 movies? But Radcliffe comes through unscathed, and it's not before long that you'd forget that here's Harry Potter. While possibly the biggest recognizable name on the cast list, it wasn't a walkover performance as everyone else had raised their act and not allow a young starlet usurp the strength of the movie. Based on a novel by Michael Noonan, December Boys tells the story of 4 orphans, all being born in the month of December, who were sent packing to a seaside village for a vacation, by virtue that it's a reward sent to the orphanage, and what better (lazier?) way to select the lucky few, than the ones celebrating their birthdays the same month.

So we have Maps (Radcliffe), Misty (Lee Cormie), Sparks (Christian Byers) and Spit (James Fraser) sent on a journey that will test their close friendship, and as usual, each will come face to face with their individual challenge that will forever change their lives. Gee, I sound like a generic trailer, but trust me, although the premise might sound cliché, December Boys hinges very heavily on the delivery of the child actors for its success. While the spotlight might be on Radcliffe and Cormie, Byers and Fraser each have their own charm, but are restrained by the frequency of their characters' on-screen appearance. The landscape of Kangaroo Island adds vast scale to this relatively small movie, opening our eyes to natural geographical wonders, becoming a character in itself, with its inhabitants mere players on its grounds.

While it's not Stand By Me, there's the usual basis that lurks around begging for comparisons. And worse, the story here allows for each of them to try and go one leg up on the other, as they learn that one of the purposes they are there at the village, was to allow for one of them to be selected for adoption. Hence the competition amongst the boys as they vie for attention, putting on their best behaviour, most contrary to what their actual characters are like. Each child however, have an episode directed around him, to similarly allow the audience to pick their preferred sub plots, involving a giant fish, a misunderstood motorcycle stuntman, dealing with mortality issues when their surrogate guardian has to battle disease, and of course, saving the best for last and for Radcliffe, first love, in the form of a young lolita Lucy (Teresa Palmer).

Soon, their hot blooded young boy antics and rebellious streaks give way to a tone of seriousness, and there's where the movie adds its poignant gravitas. December Boys might not seem much from the get go, but with each passing minute, it adds layers upon layers to build its repertoire and stand up against the scrutiny of mediocrity. By the time the final scene rolls by, even though it doesn't show much and does so mostly through narration, I thought the ending was perfect, with a tinge of regret, happiness, sorrow, and a show of solidarity all rolled into one.


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