Single mom review of “About a Boy”

Couples aren’t the future. You gotta have back up.

              – Marcus in About a Boy.

I’ve never really liked Hugh Grant. I liked him even less when he cheated on the hotness that is Elizabeth Hurley. I didn’t enjoy Notting Hill. I really enjoyed him getting punched by Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Overall, I never saw the sex appeal. I thought he was a pasty, unattractive Brit, the same way I’m sure Englishmen consider Vin Desiel a real American neanderthal.

So when About a Boywas released 6 years ago, I had no interest. I was too busy watching 8 Mile, Bowling for Columbine and 28 Days Later. I was at Film School and “oh so hip.”

Being a Pisces, I’m going to romanticise a little bit. I’m going to vault into the whole “magic of movies” schpeel, because it was my sad, simplistic truth. I left Durango, Colorado, a wide-eyed, Titanic-loving, child-of-the-Fantasy-Movie-80’s to be 100% engrossed in the magic of movies. I moved to Boston and attended one of the most competitive film schools in the country; a school that did its best to turn the innocent dreamer into a well-oiled machine.

The beauty of movies remains in the story. The longer you live, the more stories you can share, relate and empathize with. Books can be read over and over again, and each time the meaning changes a little. What you experience in life constantly adds flavor and insight to the ideas, messages and stories you absorb.

This is why I was able to return to the movie About a Boy  with renewed interest, despite my blase feelings about its star. Since becoming a single mom, I’m obsessed with seeing how we are presented to the world. What jokes are made about us? What do we look like on film? Are we good parents or bad? Are we heros or villains?

Hugh Grant’s sums up his first date with a single mom by saying, “How come nobody told me about them!?”Of course, he plays a scheming, lackadaisical fashion statement who lazes around the house and spends his daddy’s money, so the audience isn’t meant to take him very seriously. But the single mom in me squealed with delight as he professed his new-found obsession with passionate, sexy, amazing single moms.

After being bitting with the single mom bug, Hugh attends a single parent support group (to pick up women), and after hearing all their sob stories, he professes:

I’ll tell you one thing. Men are bastards. After about ten minutes I wanted to cut my own penis off with a kitchen knife.

Yeah. Me= Dying with laughter at this point. All faith in Hugh Grant restored.

He says dating a single mom is so awesome because compared to the man who abandoned her and her child, he’s like Hercules. I bristled a little bit at the “plenty of ego-stroking” comment, but maybe there was some truth behind it.  If I were dating a man who did so much as open a door for me, I probably would faint. I haven’t even been touched by a man in 6 months. Who knows what kind of spastic reaction I might have at the slightest hint of kindness.

Another great line that’s shot right out of single mom reality is during the scene where two sons of dating single parents are discussing the impending relationship.

The main character, Marcus, says to the other boy, “I think your mom is really keen on my dad.” To which the other boy screams in fury, “She’s NOT keen on him! She’s only keen on ME!”

The overall debate in About a Boyis Hugh’s rejection of the quote “No man is an Island” because he is “F***ing Ibiza!” His unexpected involvement in the single parent world constantly tests and ultimately disproves his philosophy.

Even though the characters in this single parent world are broken, akward, lonely and confused, they are all united. In the final scene, the following people all spend Christmas together:

  • The single mother of the “boy”
  • The boy’s father
  • The father’s girlfriend
  • The father’s girlfriend’s mother
  • The best friend of the single mother
  • The best friend’s daughter
  • Hugh Grant
  • The single mom who is dating Hugh Grant
  • The son of the single mom who is dating Hugh Grant

Talk about a glimpse into the single parent world. I think about my daughter’s Thanksgiving experience at her dad’s house, and it must have looked something like that. If Rooferman and Blondie were friendly enough, I would have been included, adding yet another degree of separation/inclusion.

The point of the movie, as quoted at the top of my post, is that families are changing. They don’t just consist of a mom and a dad and 2.5 children anymore. Hugh Grant confesses that being a part of that random group of people, he felt happy. For the first time he preferred being with people instead of alone on “his island.”

Yeah there were some cringe-worthy Hugh Grant moments in this movie, but for the most part, I really enjoyed the laughs, the honesty and the warm-fuzzy feelings it gave me. Plus its a Christmas movie, so now is a perfect time of year to watch it.

Add it to your Netflix and tell me what you think. As single moms, did you like it? Do you think it was honest?

12 thoughts on “Single mom review of “About a Boy”

  1. You know, I saw this movie, but I for the live of me CANNOT remember what it’s about. Hmm… made an impression for sure. LOL. I probably just didn’t identify with it at the time…

    I remember the soundtrack though. It was Badly Drawn Boy, right? I loved the soundtrack…

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  2. I have seen it three times, though I admit to loving the cheesy Hugh Grant. I loved the whole single parent image because it IS real. I totally related to the mom who tried to kill herself (Marcus’ mom), and the fear and absolute strngth it took her to pull herself together for him. I loved the whole dark side of it because it IS real, and honest, and true. I did not think it was funny in the sense of I would watch it just for a laugh, kind of like Little Miss Sunshine, but I LIKe the dark side. It seems more real to me than most (by the way, I watch Under the Tuscan Sun on your recommendation, and while I like Diane Lane, I really did NOT liek that movie 🙂

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  3. Kori- I LOVE Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine ROCKS!) She plays a single mom pretty damn good (6th Sense). Sorry about Tuscan Sun. Diane Lane will never top her role as Cherry in the Outsiders.

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  4. Hey there, I like this movie,I enjoyed the book too! I also find that the whole Hugh Grant thing a bit perplexing, but some of his movies are pretty good. This one I enjoyed quite a bit. I find it amazing in that it does a good job of reflecting single parenthood. My mother raised me alone with my grandmother, I am not a parent in a sense fo parenting, but I am a step parent, that has it’s own rules, eh?

    Thanks for the post!
    G~*

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  5. I’m adding this to my queue ASAP. I had no idea this is that that movie was about. I’m not the biggest Hugh fan, but this sounds like a great movie. I love finding new movies about single moms. Thanks!

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  6. Was Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral? That was the only tiem I found him remotely attractive.

    I get along well with my ex husband’s family. They invite the girls and I over frequently. His last girlfriend hated me and so he and I weren’t allowed in the same room. Current girlfriend is trying hard to be anything but last girlfriend and wants to be my “friend”. Right before Thanksgiving we all found ourselves eating dinner together at his sister’s house. Me (ex wife), our two daughters, my ex husband, his current girlfriend, his family. It was a bit uncomfortable but the girls wanted to stay. I can’t imagine having a holiday like that though. I can’t even imagine it being something our daughters would enjoy. Then, that’s just the dynamics of our unhealthy relationship. (my ex and I)

    woah… long comment….

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  7. I have got 1 recommendation for your web page. It seems like right now there are a few cascading stylesheet issues when opening a number of webpages in google chrome and opera. It is operating alright in internet explorer. Possibly you can double check that.

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