An isolated child and victim of bullying, a young British boy creates the Son of Rambow in his head and is encouraged to put his vision on film. Unbelievably funny, insanely charming and blissfully irresistible, Son of Rambow will make you smile, reminisce and live your childhood again.
Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), pure, innocent, and adorable, has been segregated from the rest of 1980’s British society as a member of the strict religious group The Brethren. The Bretheren have strict rules, one of which is a ban on any T.V. viewing. When hiding at another boy’s house Will is exposed to a pirated version of Rambo: First Blood, the Son of Rambow, an ass kicking child hero, is born. The class bully, Lee Carter (Will Poulter), sees Will’s Son of Rambow doodles and encourages him to make it into a movie. A French exchange student (Jules Sitruk) shakes up the school and the lives of both Lee and Will. Much hilarity ensues, child antics, funny stunts and hilarious recreations of Rambo scenes are aplenty.
Have you ever watched children in a playground, their imaginations as real to them as the grass they are rolling on. Sometimes, if they are truly in the moment, their descriptions are so vivid, even an adult can find themselves frolicking with that child. The Son of Rambow made me feel like I was dancing wildly through a child’s imagination.
Garth Jennings, the writer and the director, has a brilliant insight into a child’s mind and its beauty. Jennings either has children or has not forgotten what it was like to be a child. There are scenes where a child’s inability to make rational decisions gets him in trouble, scenes where they forget their limits, scenes where what is important to a child is obviously different than that of an adult, scenes where the characters need a hug, and scenes where they so freakin’ cute you just want to pinch their cheeks.
Some of my favorite parts of Son of Rambow are when Will disappears into his imagination and outrageous animations or other cinematic styles take over. The animation is often based on his sketches, so the animated scenes run from childish to childlike but are always entertaining.
Look out for when the kids start filming Son of Rambow. I nearly wet my pants. I literally had to cross my legs to prevent any drainage. The scenes are so ridiculous and zany, but appropriate to a child. Where else can you get a flying dog taking out a science teacher at a British elementary school? I think you’ll find other options for that scenario lacking.
Children often make great scene stealers but can’t pull off the weight of a lead actor part. Bill Milner, with his skinny little knees and captivating freckles, steals every one of his scenes and handles the spotlight with hilarious levity. I wish I could bottle Milner’s charm to use at my own disposal. It is hard to think of a sweet Rambo knock off but Milner, as Will, does just that.
Lee Carter is a complicated character, bullies usually are deeper than they seem. Will Poulter is able to pull off the emotional complexities, with only the occasional flinch. Poulter saves the day at the end of the movie though, his rich, sincere emotions made the insides of my glasses fog up.
The Son of Rambow is a British rib tickler with moments of true brilliance. I advise avoid drinking before seeing Son of Rambow because I promise, man or woman, you’ll be laughing hard enough your bladder will become an issue.
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