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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

One Hit Wonder

About a Boy (2002) on IMDb

Plot Overview

SantaThe now deceased father of 38-year-old Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) had a hit song in 1958 with, “Santa's Super Sleigh.” Will lives a self-sufficient life off the royalties never working more than a sporadic day job or complicating his life with any one woman for more than a couple months. As once a year all of Britain sings about Santa's sled, “they've got the right of way/ It's Santa's super sleigh,” Will spends the family-oriented holiday alone.

Santa's giftBy and by, he discovers that single moms being needy, appreciative, and non-committal suit his needs to a T. While exploring this terra incognita he is befriended by 12-year-old Marcus Brewer (Nicholas Hoult) who needs a masculine influence in his life. Will fills that role and being a consumer of cool stuff brings well-considered gifts to the tree, “All loaded up with shiny toys/ For Santa's favorite girls and boys.” It's a start and over two Christmases he expands his horizons.


Will has a first date at the zoo, and is another time at the Penguin Zoo. He watches “Animal Rescue” on the telly but is too late to save a duck on “Dead Duck Day.” Marcus gets soaked to the bone in a rain­storm on his way home. We might be reminded of the story of Noah's ark. Further­more, there's a drawing of a rain­bow on the window of Marcus's mom Fiona (Toni Collette)'s flat to cheer her up, and God did grant Noah a rain­bow sign, (Gen. 9:13) “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Fiona will relent at the end and approve her son a de facto vegetarian eating at McDonald's. After the flood God allowed man­kind the consumption of animal flesh, (Gen. 9:3) “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” The song “Santa's Super Sleigh.” contains a request from Santa to, “Just leave out the mince pies/ And a glass of sherry, too.” Noah, also, seems to have taken a nip of wine from time to time, (Gen. 9:20-21) “And Noah began to be an husband­man, and he planted a vine­yard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken.” We might under­stand the movie better if we explored Santa as a type of Noah.

Consider Santa provisioning his sleigh with gifts manufactured by elves at the North Pole. Let's compare Santa's sleigh with Noah's ark. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs working from Genesis and ancient sources tells us, “we can reasonably propose accurate proportions of the ark to be 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet in height” (27.) That would dwarf the men working on it making them look like little elves. Further­more, “Christ him­self referenced the flood (Matthew 24:36-39) … that those out­side of Noah's immediate family ‘knew not until the flood came and took them all away.’ … This brings a detail that would impact the choice of location — the absolute necessity of isolation” (Combs 52). In our modern Santa myth, the elves' construction takes place at the supremely isolated North Pole.

Santa's sleigh is pulled by eight reindeer harnessed in pairs. Noah's ark was filled with pairs of exotic animals. (Gen. 7:17) “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth.” Santa's sleigh also flies up above the earth. The ark landed on (Gen. 8:5) “the tops of the mountains”, the roof of the world. The sleigh lands on the rooftops, too.

hearthNext, Santa comes down the chimney to take care of the families on his route. Noah himself collapsed in a drunken heap to deal with the families in turn. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” At this point he's to take care of all his three children and the grand­kids, and so cover all the children on earth, not violating any laws of physics.

Here's what happened. (Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah … was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” The song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” tells us, “He's making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice.” Ham, unlike his two respectful brothers, was the naughty one mocking Noah.

Noah sorts out his gifts according to his naughty and nice lists. (Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Shem and his brother Japheth were a nice pair as were Ham and his son Canaan a naughty pair. The blessings come down through the generations by means of what we call the Christmas spirit, and so do the lessons at least, here embedded in a movie. The movie's song tells us:

If you never cuss or cheat or lie,
And you've always been as nice as pie,
Then something good will come your way
From Santa's super sleigh.

making a listHere we get to examine what it takes to stay off Santa's naughty list, starting with, “If you never cuss.” Great! Besides doing some cussing, him­self, Will gifts Marcus with a CD of rap group Mystikal who sing, “Shake Ya Ass.” I suppose it could have been worse. Marcus expounds on rap music, thus: “It's by black people, mostly. They're pretty angry most of the time. Some­times they just wanna have sex.

Indeed, at the Kidz Rock Concert (“Can you ‘bring it’?”) when talented break dancer Alistair “Ali” & the Def Penalty Kru perform “Murder Fo' Life,” the packed white audience is clapping and waving their hands while back­stage three soul sisters are grooving with their whole bodies. The former appreciate the rap music; the latter own it.

More germane to modern times than Noah's grandson Canaan is the lineage of Cush. Cush was also a son of Ham (Gen. 10:6), settling in Africa. Cush is Hebrew meaning black. Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62).

The next criterion for avoiding Santa's naughty list is, “If you never cheat.” Will attends a support group called Single Parents Alone Together (SPAT) for the purpose of meeting hot single moms. Predict­ably, they give testimonials around in a circle. It's mostly women talking of their men cheating on them, and how.

Thirdly, there's, “If you never lie.” Will does some major lying passing himself off as a single dad. One lie begets another; you know how that goes.

Of the positive criteria is if, “you've always been as nice as pie.” That describes sweet Marcus who wants to sing Roberta Flack's “Killing Me Softly” at the concert in order to cheer up his depressed mom. His peers tell him it would be social suicide. Will is more descriptive with: “You know the dream where you turn up at school with­out your trousers on and every­one laughs at you? That is what this is gonna be for Marcus, but for real.” That's much like the humiliation Ham put Noah through when he discovered him drunk and naked, and he told everyone.

Production Values

” (2002) was based on Nick Hornsby's 1998 novel, About a Boy. It was directed by brothers Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz. The screen­play was written by Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz. It stars Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, and Toni Collette. Grant is excellent as usual. He also had solid support from Toni Collette and Rachael Weisz. Nicholas Hoult did okay as a child actor, but he was saddled with over­much material. The cast as a whole was a well oiled machine.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for brief strong language and some thematic elements. It's not fast paced or action packed, but the audience's interest is maintained by dry British wit and smooth camera tricks. Although Christmas is woven into the plot, it's not Christmas-y per se.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Surprisingly, this movie forced me to care about a cad and wish him a better life. The boy had troubles that a little socialization worked wonders for. It helped us appreciate inter­gener­ational dynamics. All in all it's well worth watching.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Excellent understated special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.