December Boys review

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Daniel Radcliffe takes a holiday from Hogwarts in this Aussie coming-of-ager (based on Michael Noonan’s novel), playing the eldest of four orphan boys spending summer by the sea. Befriended by a childless couple, the younger lads compete to be the most adoptable while Radcliffe’s moody Maps gets a formative pash on with local girl Lucy (Teresa Palmer). Smoking, shagging and showing his hairy legs, the Harry Potter star broods maturely and doesn’t bodge the accent. Alas, there’s hardly room to bond with his underscripted co-leads, whose youthful zest doesn’t stop the story clouding over with themes of disillusionment and death. Still, a warm, sentimental glow prevails at the end, while copious shots of rolling landscape offset the teatime-telly feel of veteran goggleboxer Rod Hardy’s direction.

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