About a Boy

7.11 h 41 min2002X-RayPG-13
A womanizing, yuppie slacker - who will go to any length to meet and bed single mothers - finds himself examining his life when a 12-year old boy enters his life.
Paul WeitzChris Weitz
Hugh GrantToni ColletteRachel Weisz
English [CC]Español
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Victoria SmurfitNicholas HoultIsabel BrookSharon SmallAugustus Prew
Jane RosenthalRobert De NiroBrad EpsteinTim BevanEric Fellner
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

1399 global ratings

  1. 79% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Carmen L.Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Exploitative misogynistic man tries to become human with the help of a 12-year-old boy
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This is a story about a 36 year old man who is living on the proceeds of a Christmas song about Santa that his dad wrote long go. His dad was an alcoholic and probably beat him when he was a boy. He has no relationship with the dad anymore or he's dead. The man has never had to work so he grew tempted into being self absorbed and narcissistic and exploiting women and possibly children. He thinks he doesn't need anyone. He gets porn all the time which is an exploitative thing and abusive and he masturbates to that on Christmas and gets drunk and high rather than make any kind of human connection. The only type of human connection he can think of is to satisfy his carnal desires and his lust by using the bodies of desperate women for his own physical lust and then dumping them when they are attached to him and he is bored. This is what makes him a misogynist.

He also has some leanings towards being a pedophile because he states that he will drug and have sex with a girl (which is called drug-assisted rape) if he were made into her godfather on her 18th birthday once she becomes an adult which is psychologically incest because she would see him as family. Also it means he would be lusting after her that entire time that she was a child growing up. He also said he will abuse her, like drop her on the floor, when she is a child. So he knows he is a predator and an abuser and his friends still send him on a date with a woman who has a child, knowing he's told them he is a predator that lusts after their little girl or would, if he was in her life. That shows poor judgement on their part, putting him in any proximity with any children. He needs to see a therapist, not go on a date. Luckily all of the children he comes into contact with are boys, so he doesn't decide to lust after them or rape any of them. However he does show the porn to the 12 year old boy that adopts him as a father figure. This is an actor of pedophilia, showing porn to a child. Showing porn to a child is often used as grooming or brainwashing by human traffickers to have the boy exploited in commercialized rape and child porn. But he isn't involved in that so instead, the boy just has to realize, on his own, that the life of his chosen father-figure is empty and exploitative and that he doesn't approve of it.

Furthermore the nasty 36 year old man steals the opportunity to get money for Amnesty International by having phone sex rather than taking donations because he also wants to exploit the poor who needed that money from Amnesty International. He's rich so he thinks the poor can just drop dead and all he wants is to satisfy his lust. It's the only thing that matters to him. And the people at Amnesty International do absolutely nothing to stop him so you wonder if they also want the poor who rely on them to drop dead from starvation etc. And you wonder if all the rest of the men in Amnesty International will just give up helping the poor and then turn to phone sex instead and then a lot of people end up starving and dead.

Its also really sad when the boy kills a duck by accident, which is actually a crime in the USA because they are protected under the migratory bird treaty act. I don't know about the UK. The boy is going to tell the truth and take responsibility, which would have created in him a love and respect for animals and nature. This is a good trait for anyone to have. The world becomes a better place when we grieve the loss of each animal that we kill accidentally or on purpose (if we are eating them). It would have been better if he would have said a prayer to God to honor the life of the duck and thank God for His creation. At least that. A funeral for the duck would have been nice too. Plus paying a fine or picking up litter in the park as restorative justice for killing a duck because not hunting or killing of animals is allowed in that park. It is supposed to be a safe sanctuary for people and wildlife. Instead of all that, the man lies to the park warden and says that the duck was already dead and the boy is just trying to sink the body. The man is all about lies. All he ever does is lie. It's one of his temptations. Except when he told how he'd rape his goddaughter when she turned 18. That was the truth. Because he really is a pervert. He spends hours every day on the internet perving on naked women photos and see through clothing on women when he isn't watching porn movies.

It's great that the boy still has morals and can chart his own course in life despite having a mother that is suicidally depressed and constantly trying to kill herself and surviving lots of bullying at school that is both physical and verbal abuse. He tries to do everything that he can to save and change the people in his life that he cares about. He sings to his mother and does what he can to stop her from killing herself. He shouts at the man and tries to manipulate or blackmail him to get his life on track and not lead a meaningless evil existence focused on misogyny and exploiting women in all ways possible. He is going through so much, and no one is there to help him and the adults are so self-absorbed and messed up and the bullies are so violent, so the only person he has to care for him and talk to him is himself. So he spends a lot of time singing and talking to himself. I think that is really relatable.

The man starts to see how he could be there for the boy and actually manages to hold conversations with him so the boy doesn't just have to talk to himself anymore. The boy tries to help him have a relationship with his mother but neither of them are able to take care of themselves let alone another person. The man starts to develop actual feelings (not lust) for a woman in the single parents group he joined as a con man to sleep with all the desperate women there and dump them. He also manages to hold a few conversations with her that aren't all about lust. His feelings grow stronger and the boy tells the man to be honest. He actually is honest and explains how he is a con man and that he has developed actual feelings for her and hopes she can reciprocate. She cannot so she dumps him, but the progress he made is that he was able to tell the truth thanks to the boy and have feelings and say what they were.

The boy wants to sing Killing Me Softly to his mom in the talent show because she loves the song and he hopes it will be one more thing he can do to keep her fighting to stay alive. The man is worried that the boy will get bullied worse and for the rest of his school life so he goes and joins the boy on stage while he is singing and crying and helps him out. Then a year later he spends Christmas with the boy, his mom, his ex-girlfriend, and the Amnesty International guy who thought it was fine to steal money from the poor to do phone sex instead because he didn't stop the man from doing that. So the suicidal mom might go out with exploitative Amnesty International guy who wants to rob the poor like the man did with his phone sex. And we're left wondering how is the boy going to deal with the new addition of more messed up adults in his life? Can he just become friends with the park warden? At least that guy cares about nature? Surely he's a better choice of a father figure than these bozos? I guess the boy is happy because he believes the more adults he has in his life, the less likely it is that his mom will kill herself, or the more likely it is that they will step in and take her to the hospital when she does try to kill herself like they did in this movie, which is how he and the man bond, at first. Out of the boy's desperation.

But in reality the boy needs to be taken by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care because she is not fit to be a parent. I think she is meant to be a drug addict too in addition to trying to kill herself. He really is not in a safe environment. He could literally die. No one is there to save him. The bullies hi own age are violent enough that they could lynch him and he could end up dead and no one would get involved. He spends a lot of time by himself so he is an easy target for a drug dealer, pedophile, kidnapper or murderer. The man is literally a pedophile because he showed porn to a child (and I think he offered him drugs which is called providing drugs to a minor). Just because he told the boy's mother he is not a pedophile, she believes him and doesn't care if her son hangs out with him. Just because some guy says they are not a pedophile does not mean they are not a pedophile. So that is another reason why CPS should take him away. He is searching for someone to take care of him and find a way to rescue his mom but he's coming up with nothing or almost nothing. The man is almost nothing. Not really an adult nor a human. More like a monster. The boy is a child. His hands are mostly tied.

If I were to write a sequel to this movie, I would have CPS come and take the boy away and he'd go to a Montessori school with his foster family who would be kind to him and adopt him and he'd learn to love nature and take care of ducks and all the rest of the animals on Earth. He'd learn about God and Jesus and see that he is a divine creation of God and that he is loved. He would have adults that actually loved him and were capable of taking care of him, not mentally ill like the ones he has the misfortune of being surrounded by.

All the adults and bullies who failed him would go to jail for their crimes against him (abandonment, neglect, assault and battery, providing drugs to a minor, pedophila of showing porn to a minor). In jail they would go through therapy for malignant narcissism and misogyny and they would have an experience with God and Jesus and decide to change the way they were living. They would understand the sins of lust, violence against women, drug assisted rape, psychological incest, dishonesty, cruelty to animals, neglect of children, bullying violence, etc.
2 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on April 16, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
2 loners make an unlikey friendship that betters both of their lives
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About A Boy is about two loners who meet and end up changing each other’s lives for the better. The twist is that one is an adult played by Hugh Grant as Will and the other is a little kid played by Nicholas Hoult is Marcus who is in middle school.

The movie focuses upon Marcus and Will trying to help each other out because they both need a lot of work. Marcus for instance is a total outcast at school so Will buys him some cool shoes only for them to be stolen. Marcus on the other hand poses as Will’s son so that he can pick up on a woman named Rachel played by Rachel Weisz. It makes for an endearing story.

There are also some very funny moments. Markus performs at his school’s talent show and everyone is booing him when Will jumps on stage with him and helps him finish a rendition of Robert Flack’s Killing Me Softly. The thing is when Markus is finished Will keeps on singing by himself.

There’s laughs, there’s romance, there’s character development all wrapped up together in About A Boy. In fact it’s like a coming of age story for both Will and Markus.
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on April 10, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A film with sparkling dialogue, and fine performances from everyone. Grant shines.
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Bought a region free American import of this film on blu ray. The film is a gem. It's great to see a film where all the little nuances of the interplay between the characters is not rammed home, but there for you to discover by yourself, several viewings will make you appreciate the finesse with which this has been achieved. But for me often it's a question of have the put any good extras. Here you're treated to; directors commentary, English to English dictionary ( rather superfluous, but funny ), "Santa's Super Sleigh- lyrics to entire song, Spotlight on location ( a good one for non- Londoners) and deleted scenes. I watched this with my "boys", the wife have seen it before, of 20 and 16 years of age. They both thought is was a very good film.
2 people found this helpful
Janis HendlerReviewed in the United States on March 27, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is one of those rare instances when the product outshines expectations. I purchased "About a Boy" out of deference to Nicholas Hoult (I believe this was his first major feature), who has grown into one of the most fascinating young actors in film today. I expected a self-indulgent Hugh Grant too-cute film with Hoult as a bonbon, but instead watched an imaginative, charming and thought-provoking story of complex human emotions.
Hoult is an extremely eccentric kid tormented by other children while struggling to cope with his single hippie mother's depression and attempted suicide. The mother/son relationship is complex and atypical, breaking personal ground; she has no idea how her doting attention and unconscious efforts to make her son into a partner rather than a child affect him adversely. Likewise, Grant's self-centered rich-boy-growing-old has a lot of room for improvement, which is ultimately stimulated by his unexpected, unwanted relationship with the awkward but doughty boy.
The plot is simple: A horny single dude realizes he can meet vulnerable women among self-help groups for single parents. He signs up for meetings in which he is the only male, fabricates a non-existent child with all the phony emotional duress of an equally non-existent failed marriage, and wins the hearts of all around him. He hones in on one attractive mother and while he initially scores with her, the son of the messed-up hippie mom hones in on him as a surrogate father to help him cope with his mother's disabilities.
Grant's cold-hearted cad is not immediately melted by the irritating boy who insistently shows up at his door and insinuates himself into his home. But as he realizes the torture the child endures, which may reflect the callowness he showed to others when he was young, he very gradually accepts responsibility for love.
I recommend this movie on many levels, excellent acting being only one. It's a feel-good movie that doesn't offer pat, simplistic resolutions, and ultimately is immensely touching (albeit occasionally cringe-worthy).
21 people found this helpful
Mary K CliffordReviewed in the United States on January 4, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hilarious, touching, with life lessons
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Hugh Grant's Will comes across as almost too cringe-y in the first part of the film, with his self-oriented life and shameless approach to hooking up with women. But stick with it: Insight breaks through, hilarity ensues, hearts are warmed, life lessons learned. Nicholas Hoult is the real star of the show as Marcus, the perceptive, brilliantly real boy struggling to assemble a "backup" support network for his unstable home life.
3 people found this helpful
S. GravesReviewed in the United States on August 28, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
No man is an island—or are they?
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I have always loved Hugh Grant’s acting and Nick Hornby’s writing. With this movie you get both of these talented artists together. I laugh at this movie no matter how many times I watch it. While it is comical (the dialogue Hugh Grant’s character has with himself is especially funny), it deals with the real topic of fitting in and just how far one will go in order to not be alone. Is one man really an island?
6 people found this helpful
Claire B.Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very good movie. Smart film for smart people.
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It is not a story for a little kids. This is totally adult movie and do follow the rating advice. Other then that
this is very good performance by all actors involved especially Hugh Grant ,t he little boy and his mom.

It is very real on screen depiction of a young guy who has enough money to live care free but
at the same he is lonely enough to submit to uninvited friendship with a little boy and his slightly
psychotic but more struggling single mom and although the movie is not about any romantic
relationship with his mom as there is no such, this movie is hilarious and good visual journey
that is good watch.
It is slightly intellectual movie and extremely satisfying.

Don't expect fast action or special effects but if you want great smooth dialogues and
good flow that is unbarring and makes you waiting for the next scene then this movie
is for you.

Hugh Grant is superb.
8 people found this helpful
Lisa GeeReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
superb movie on all fronts!
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This is arguably one of my all time favorite movies: genuine praise from me as I usually don't like what initially comes off as light, cheesy humor. I am SO happy I stayed for this unique treat of a film the first time I stumbled upon it on tv. I then found myself watching it *every* time it was on--each time getting more and more out of the story line.
It's a surpisingly deep and moving movie with a multi-layered message. The humor eases the tension a bit in the ways in which dysfunction plays out in different types of lifestyles.
Toni Collette plays a troubled but loving and devoted mum to a smart quirky boy who is bullied at school. She suffers from periodic depression, sometimes severe..and soooo many movies get that delicate subject totally wrong!

Hugh plays a rich, often bored, self absorbed guy who "has it all" yet really has nothing because he instinctively needs love and connection in his life.

The worlds of Marcus, the sweet, adorable outcast who is confused by his mother but devoted to her; and this vain playboy Will collide, and leads to a heartwarming yet non corny conclusion. (Another Hollywood rarity).

I TRULY enjoy and respect this movie.

Newcomer Nick Hoult is brilliant. Hugh Grant largely carries the film but keeps one step back, and Toni Collette isnt recognized half as much as she should be as an actress. She was phenomenal in this vehicle and shines in EVERY film I have ever seen her in. Rachel Weisz was charming in the role of one of Will's conquests.

I now own the director's cut dvd and have watched it over and over. SO rare to see a movie which is entirely human and doesnt have to rely on sex or violence or gratuitous cursing. The movie doesnt even require everyone to look like a supermodel. All players are nuanced and delightfully flawed. The London background was a perfect backdrop (often gray and rainy).

Oh. And the soundtrack is AWESOME. I purchased that too!
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