Time: 100 mins.
Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Only Hugh Grant could make a character with no ambitions and fewer morals into someone charming, funny and utterly human. He gets an enormous amount of help from an astonishing young actor who shows how one can rise above the tortures of childhood, even if one can't fully escape them. This story is about the relationship between these two lost souls, looking for meaning in their sorry lives and for someone they can count on to catch them when they fail. Thanks to novelist Nick Hornby's sardonic take on life, the film is uplifting without being overly sentimental. He proves his theory that no man is an island with wit, intelligence and honesty. It may be true to some extent, but it's the interaction with others that makes life worth living and occasionally downright annoying.
Grant plays Will Freeman, an avowed bachelor with nothing to show for his life but a nice apartment, great clothes and lots of stuff. Since he doesn't have to work he lives off the royalties of a popular Christmas song his father wrote he's left to live his life on his own terms. Unfortunately for him, the best he can come up with is watching TV game shows and having meaningless sex. As he gets older and his friends move on to more adult matters like parenthood, Will is left on the sidelines of life, seemingly happy to go through every day without emotional turmoil. His latest coup to stay unattached is to date single mothers, woman equally afraid of commitment, though for vastly different reasons. His plan works pretty well until encounters Marcus (Hoult), an usual 12-year-old boy and his unstable, yet loving mother. A twist of hard reality brings him into their lives and Marcus refuses to let him escape.
The only time Marcus is free from the stress of his home life and the horrors he encounters every moment in school are the afternoons he spends with Will. He initially traps Will into friendship, but Will is soon enjoying the time they spend together, taking an active interest in Marcus's world. Of course, once you open the door to life, it's impossible to shut it again. Marcus's positive take on life, despite all the adversity thrown his way, causes Will to rethink his lonely life and take a real chance on love. Unfortunately, a lifetime of lying dies hard, causing Will to land in the doghouse with Marcus and potential girlfriend Rachel (Weisz). Only this time he discovers he actually cares, about not only the direction of his own life, but Marcus's as well. He confronts his own worst fears about himself and convinces Fiona (Collette), Marcus's mother, to do the same. In the end, everyone winds up with a soft place to fall.