December Boys

December Boys

2007, PG-13, 105 min. Directed by Rod Hardy. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Thompson, Kris McQuade, Lee Cormie, Christian Byers, James Fraser, Sullivan Stapleton, Victoria Hill, Teresa Palmer.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 28, 2007

The four orphaned protagonists of December Boys – Maps (Radcliffe, in his first post-Harry Potter film role), Misty (Cormie), Sparks (Byers), and Spit (Fraser) – have nicknames that, at the very least, should guarantee them entrée into the more onomatopoeic realms, somewhere down the timeline of mid-Nineties Britpop (possibly as roadies for Supergrass). Extrapolating character arcs from names alone gives us, let's see, Maps as the eternally misguided tour-lorry driver, Misty as the gender-confused guitar tech prone to lager-sozzled bouts of hormone-driven weepiness, Sparks as the prepsychotic firebug who eventually burns down the Hammersmith Odeon, and Spit as the secret reincarnation of Sid Vicious' tongue, who gives it all up to teach Keats at Cambridge before choking to death at a midnight chippie 20 years down the line. Sounds bang-on, but sadly, this isn't that story at all. Instead, December Boys follows these four parentless lads (all of whom have birthdays in December, hence the title) from their pleasant, nun-run orphanage to the southern coast of Australia, where they spend a week or two of officially sanctioned holiday (time passes oddly in this film when it passes at all) as the guests of a nautical-mad husband and wife (Thompson and McQuade) and the various side characters who make up a tiny, overly dotty seaside nonresort. Maps, as befits a character played by an actor whose most recent role involved exploding wands, straightaway loses his virginity to a seaside siren by the name of Lucy (the devastatingly winsome Palmer) before blowing a gasket when she ups and vanishes in the third act. "Everyone leaves!" he rails in fit of pique, which is an entirely appropriate reaction given what poor Maps must have imagined the rest of this particular December held in store for him. It's also, basically, the pleasant but pedestrian December Boys' none-too-subtle message: Everyone leaves, yes, except your friends who will stick by you no matter what. Until you form that band and catch Sparks lighting your best girl's fire, so to speak.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Daniel Radcliffe Films
Swiss Army Man
This infamous "farting corpse" movie is all gassed up with nowhere to go

Marjorie Baumgarten, July 1, 2016

Now You See Me 2
Now you can't un-see the second installment of Jon M. Chu's magical trilogy

Josh Kupecki, June 10, 2016

More by Marc Savlov
Cold Pursuit
Liam Neeson is Mr. Plow ... with a vengeance

Feb. 15, 2019

2019 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary
Tales of love and hate dominate these Oscar hopefuls

Feb. 8, 2019


December Boys, Rod Hardy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Thompson, Kris McQuade, Lee Cormie, Christian Byers, James Fraser, Sullivan Stapleton, Victoria Hill, Teresa Palmer

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle