Clive Owen does a lovely job of acting as Joe Warr, a real-life top British sports writer dad working in Australia. He wins you over just as he wins over his two sons – teen George MacKay and little Nicholas McAnulty – from a previous marriage, when he decides to look after them after his beloved Aussie wife Katy (Laura Fraser) suddenly dies of cancer.
Based on an autobiographical novel by Simon Carr (adaptation by Allan Cubitt), this brilliantly truthful and touching heart-tugger has it all – and then a little bit more. As the confused and conflicted older boy Harry, MacKay (from The Thief Lord and Defiance) is an expert scene-stealer, effortlessly giving Owen a run for his money.
Director Scott Hicks constantly and movingly turns up the heat on the emotions, making his film something special and extraordinary just like he did with Shine in 1996. It is the first time that he has filmed in his home state of South Australia since then – a shining return then.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4420
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