In a forehead slapping moment half-way through Son of Rambow, a character pulls out a cell-phone the size of a toaster, and I realized it took place in 1983. Seriously, up until that moment, I had sort of vaguely wondered what time period it was supposed to take place in, with a sort of half-conscious amusement at these kids dressing like Boy George and drinking Coke while eating Pop Rocks.
The anchor for the film is a Brit show called “Screen Test”, which I think went off the air in ‘84, so that would’ve been a clew for them. (There was an unrelated game show in the US in the mid-’70s called “Don Adams’ Screen Test” but who remembers that?)
Anyway, the story concerns a young Christian boy, Will, (a Mennonite?) who takes up with Simpson-esque troublemaker Lee Carter to film a short for the show “Screen Test”. Since the only video Will has ever seen is “First Blood”, he wants to make their film The Son of Rambow. This results in a number of amusing montages, and a strange new popularity among the kids at school for Will.
It’s a cute coming-of-age film, without the resonance of a classic like Stand By Me,
though with some oddities. For example, Will is supposed to belong to this Christian group but none of its morality seems to have touched him at all. He lies and steals fairly casually. This doesn’t really fit in with what I’ve seen with kids raised in similar faiths. There is some question as to how long they’ve been members of the church, though. In any case, it raises the question but doesn’t really answer it.
Still, the ending seems to work well, and the ride is pleasant; I was actually a bit surprised it didn’t last longer at the theater, but that may have been because of the influx of summer films. It may re-emerge in the fall.