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December Boys


Stars: Daniel Ratcliffe, Teresa Palmer, Christian Byers, Lee Cormie, James Fraser, Jack Thompson, Kris McQuade, Victoria Hill

Director: Rod Hardy

Sporting a decent Australian accent, Radcliffe offers his best screen performance to date in this exquisitely shot, frequently boring, but finally poignant yarn.

He plays Maps, the oldest of four orphan boys who are among many being looked after by nuns. As their birthdays fall in December, they find themselves the first to benefit from a monetary bequest to the convent and are given a holiday by the sea, staying with a middle-aged couple, Bandy (Thompson) and Skip (McQuade), who appears to be dying.

The only other house on the beach is occupied by a childless couple - the wife (Hill) knocks the quartet sideways by bathing topless - and the three younger boys are quickly competing to be adopted.

Maps meets the promiscuous Lucy (Palmer) and is soon seduced by her. But, as is the nature of these occasions, all good things come to an end.

Radcliffe easily carries the focus of the film in an intelligent performance, and you may be too busy sniffling at the end to remember the earlier yawns.

David Quinlan

Australia 2006. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Atlab.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Sep 2007