Old Boys (2018) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

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With Alex Lawther’s charm not fully engaged, Old Boys makes it difficult to invest in his character, or any others, and becomes draining.


Director(s) Toby MacDonald
Screenplay By Freddy Syborn, Luke Ponte
Date Released 6/24/2019
Genre(s) Comedy, Romance
Good If You Like Films Which Focus On The Nerdy Outcast
Isn’t For You If You Want A Film With A Relationships, Platonic or Romantic, You Can Get Invested In
Noted Cast
Amberson Alex Lawther
Agnes Pauline Etienne
Henry Jonah Hauer-King

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Old Boys Plot Summary

Poor Amberson (Alex Lawther), on top of being a kid who goes to a private boy school on a scholarship, is also a social outcast. Yet, despite being bullied and being treated cruelly, he tries to join school activities and gain acceptance. However, it isn’t until meeting Agnes (Pauline Etienne) that he gets some kind of friend, maybe even a love interest. However, with her in love with the star jock of the school Henry Winchester (Jonah Hauer-King), Amberson’s heart feels tossed aside.

At least, until he realizes Agnes sees more in Winchester than that is there. Thus allowing him to, vicariously, love, and gain Agnes’ love, through writing material and crafting Winchester to be who Agnes likes. Leading you to wonder, if she learns the truth, what will happen?

 

Highlights

Lawther’s Charm

While we don’t see Lawther’s charm tapped into like other movies we’ve covered, it is still there. This certain vulnerability which makes you feel for him. A desire to see him get past his issues and perhaps, in the long run, be happy. For there seems to be such an effort required to see many of Lawther’s characters smile that it makes a genuine one feel like a gift. One the story often makes you work for.

Criticism

None Of The Relationships You’ll Find Yourself Investing In

With things between Amberson and Henry, verbatim, being called transactional, and never evolving past that, nothing from those two interacting becomes worth investing in. Then, when it comes to Agnes, we don’t really see her and Amberson develop much of a friendship as much as him being her delivery boy. If not an insider to all things Winchester. So while they spend time together, you don’t develop wishes for her to see all he is doing to make her happy and, with her being the only girl, you aren’t given the opportunity to look towards another young woman and wish Amberson could get with her. All we see are a bunch of infatuations that don’t really go anywhere for none of the relationships get past surface level.

On The Fence

The Story As A Whole

Leading to a bit of a conflict. On the one hand, Lawther’s charm makes you want some form of a happy ending. However, the way Amberson’s story is written, while acceptance and love are clearly goals, you lose interest in both after a while. Making it so, as it seems Amberson’s life may turn around, your joy will strictly come if you are a fan of Lawther. Otherwise, you may not give a damn and may not even make it to the end.

Old Boys Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

Old Boys has some form of potential, but it seems Lawther wasn’t properly utilized, and thus this movie meanders its way to an ending, but not one you’ll probably be that invested in. Hence why this is being labeled divisive – yes, Lawther’s charm exists, but no actor engages it, and the writing doesn’t tap into it. Leaving you interested, at first, but feeling your initial investment won’t lead to any type of return.

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