Wondrous Oblivion (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Sam Smith, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Townsend, Emily Woof, Angela Wynter

Director: Paul Morrison

Set in the 1950s and early 60s London amongst a traditionally British white community, Jewish immigrants Victor and his wife Ruth are trying to bring up their 11 year-old son David and his younger sister without any fuss. However, a Caribbean family moves in next door, and as the two families make friends, they make enemies of the rest of the street, leading passions and tempers to flare in almost equal measure.

A bond between the two families is initially formed by academic David’s obsession with cricket – although he’s no good at it. He sees neighbour Dennis make a cricket net in his back garden and as he practices with daughter Judy, David goes to join in, leading Dennis to coach him.

Although it’s the love of cricket that provides the initial bond between the two families, the theme is strongly that of racial integration and equality, particularly during the time when many Caribbean immigrants were arriving in Britain.

This film is pleasant enough to watch but fairly forgettable. It’s theme, whilst worthy, is hardly original and presumably the cricket slant is meant to give it that twist of originality. I fear however this might only work if you’re a cricket fan, and possibly not even then, as the cricket is merely a device by which to tackle the main themes. The repeated references to the film’s title were a little cloying and seemed stuck in the script for the sake of it as if to somehow give it more meaning.

For all its good intentions, a stunning performance from the young Sam Smith as David and an engaging performance from Delroy Lindo still never quite manage to lift this film above the average.

2 out of 6 stars