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F is for Family Man: Clive Owen and The Boys are Back

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Only Clive-O could get me to see a movie guaranteed to spark some kind of eye drizzle. Anyone who knows me knows I do not like emotionally challenging films, anything that prompts outrage or distress.

But for Clive I saw The Boys are Back at TIFF. And I'd see it again.

Sure, I sniffled some at the poignant scenes. After all, it's based on the true story of a father-and-sons struggle to cope following the loss of wife and mother. And in a different kind of role from his others, Clive is too good an actor for me to retreat into the safety of our special relationship in order to avoid getting drawn into the sad bits. (He's also an exec producer on the film.)

Thankfully, The Boys are Back is as much a movie about moving forward and forging something new. Along with the rest of the audience, I enjoyed the sweet, sensitive performances from the young actors who played Clive's sons (George MacKay makes me think of a slightly more polished Rupert Grint, and wee, tousled Nicholas McAnulty -- I just wanted to eat him all up), and laughed at the life's-like-that moments of humour. A favourite scene was a voiceover of Clive's sportswriter character's play-by-play write-up of a championship swim heat: if you run your hands over the body of Michael Phelps, along his long, lean torso and over his flanks, and lets face it, you want to... I wish I'd written it down. It was far better in the film than in my wonky recollection, and besides, I was distracted by the low timbre of Clive's voice as well as the engaging writing.


And now I'm distracted again.

The Boys are Back is in theatres now.