The Boys Are Back parents guide

The Boys Are Back Parent Guide

"The Boys Are Back" is a poignant look at the pitfalls and pinnacles of parenting -- even in the face of personal heartbreak.

Overall B

Joe Warr (Clive Owen) is a capable sports writer, but not quite as competent as a father. This he learns after a tragedy turns him into a single parent. Responsible for two sons, one an impressionable six-year-old (Nicholas McNulty) and the other a headstrong teen (George MacKay), Joe attempts to rear his offspring the best way he knows how -- even if his methods are a bit unusual.

Release date October 9, 2009

Violence B-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C
Substance Use C

Why is The Boys Are Back rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Boys Are Back PG-13 for some sexual language and thematic elements.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Parenting is never easy but for former athlete and sportswriter Joe Warr (Clive Owen), it is overwhelming. Following the sudden death of his wife Katy (Laura Fraser), the ambitious newspaperman, who spent most of his time away at sporting events, finds himself stuck at home with his six-year-old son that he barely knows. Drowning in his own incomprehensible grief, he packs their bags and heads out on an extended road trip with Artie (Nicholas McNulty).

But his usual tactic of handing out treats and gifts does little to help him connect with the confused and tired child who spends day after day strapped in the back seat of their car.

Finally back at home, Joe is dealt another surprise when his teenaged son from a previous marriage shows up on the scene as well. Trying to fit the reserved and morose Harry (George MacKay) into their already unbalanced household proves to be more difficult than Joe anticipated.

Lacking the structure and calm that was orchestrated by Katy, Joe takes an unconventional approach to nurturing his two offspring. The list of rules is very short and even then is often challenged. Instead his pat answer to almost every request becomes "yes". Pushing what might be seen as the limits of responsible childrearing, he lets his boys engage in activities that many in their community consider reckless and risky. He also dismisses the cautions issued by his mother-in-law and a female friend (Emma Booth).

However as the dirty dishes and unwashed laundry pile up, the laid-back lifestyle causes a different kind of stress for the widower, and Joe finds himself both floundering at work and increasingly turning to alcohol for comfort.

Single mothers are a common theme in films but unfortunately dads are usually depicted as duds—incapable, fumbling or foolish. While Joe certainly has his moments of incompetence, the portrayal of this brokenhearted father is tender and touching, especially as he realizes that his successes on the sporting field and in his career don’t automatically make him an outstanding man of the house. Groping to find his way through this new and frightening scenario, he often errs on the side of leniency and even lunacy. Yet his effort to build a family from the fragments of their lives is a worthwhile endeavor.

Set in the rustic Australian outback and based on the real life experiences of columnist Simon Carr, The Boys Are Back is a poignant look at the pitfalls and pinnacles of parenting—even in the face of personal heartbreak.

Starring Scott Hicks, Clive Owen, Nicholas McNulty, George MacKay. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release October 9, 2009. Updated

The Boys Are Back
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Boys Are Back rated PG-13? The Boys Are Back is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some sexual language and thematic elements.

Death is portrayed, as well as discussed, when a woman suffers from the fatal effects of cancer. A man drinks frequently to lessen the pain of grief. Other characters are shown drinking at home, in bars or at social gatherings. Brief comments are made about drug use. A man receives injuries to his face after an altercation in a bar. A child is nearly hit by a vehicle. A father lets his child drive a car with his assistance, ride on the hood while the father drives and engage in other activities that may be considered dangerous. A married couple kisses. An adult and teen discuss an adulterous affair and the resulting pregnancy. A man makes crude, sexual comments to a female bartender. A man comments on an athlete’s breasts. A child repeatedly hits his father. The script includes profanities, regional slang expressions, terms of Deity, slurs and insults.

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The Boys Are Back Parents' Guide

Why is it difficult for Joe to explain death to his son? How does Joe deal with his grief in comparison to Artie? What other things do characters mourn in this film besides the death of a loved one?

Who is impacted by infidelity and divorce in this story? Is there any way for adults to lessen the effects of broken families?

Why is it important for children to have some structure in their lives? What kind of family rules do you have? How are they similar or different from those of other families?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Boys Are Back movie is January 26, 2010. Here are some details…

Release Date: 26 January 2010

The Boys Are Back releases to DVD with the following bonus materials:

-The Boys Are Back: A Photographic Journey—Director Scott Hicks presents a pictorial tour of the making of the film.

- A Father and Two Sons, On Set  Author Simon Carr, , whose memoir inspired the movie, and his real-life sons visit the set.

Related home video titles:

In the movie Grace Is Gone, a grieving father struggles to find a way to tell his daughters that their mother has been killed while on a tour of duty in Iraq. After three Aboriginal children are taken from their families in the Australian outback and placed in government care, they make a 1200-mile trek back to their home following the country’s famous Rabbit-Proof Fence. Combining a documentary-like script with plenty of action, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is a close-up introduction to animal naturalist Steve Irwin and the critters that live down under.