Writer/director Paul Morrison, who directed the cross-cultural period drama Solomon and Gaenor, returns to similar ground, though in a lighter vein, with Wondrous Oblivion. Sam Smith stars as David Wiseman, a Jewish boy living in London in 1960 who dreams of being a world-class athlete. David is totally obsessed with cricket, and loves playing, even though he is one of the worst players at his school. His parents, Ruth (Emily Woof of The Full Monty) and Victor (Stanley Townsend), are struggling with the bigoted residents of their working-class neighborhood, but the neighbors get a bit more friendly to the Wisemans when Dennis (Delroy Lindo), a Jamaican laborer, and his family move in next door. David is shocked and delighted when he realizes that Dennis and his daughter, Judy (Leonie Elliott), are installing a cricket pitch in their backyard. Before long, and against the wishes of his worried parents, David is spending a lot of time next door, becoming very friendly with Judy, and becoming a much better cricket player. Ruth gradually warms to Dennis, but the rest of the neighborhood grows increasingly hostile. Wondrous Oblivion was presented by the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of the 2005 New York Jewish Film Festival.
Disc #1 -- Wondrous Oblivion 1. Wondrous [5:50] 2. Better Dreams [5:46] 3. The New Neighbors [6:27] 4. A Cricket Net [5:25] 5. A Real Professional [7:35] 6. A Boy Is a Boy [5:27] 7. New Friends [5:55] 8. Superboy [3:40] 9. At the Dance [7:23] 10. An Art Form [5:05] 11. In Love [5:58] 12. Happy Birthday [3:34] 13. A Ruined Friendship [8:17] 14. A Place for a Jewish Boy [4:20] 15. Arson [6:26] 16. Proper Friends [4:56] 17. No One Can Walk Past You [9:11] 18. Credits [4:16]
Disc #1 -- Wondrous Oblivion Play Scene Selection Extras Wondrous Oblivion: Behind the Scenes Theatrical Trailer Previews Set-Up 2.0 Stereo 5.1 Dolby Surround Commentary Track With Director Paul Morrison: On Commentary Track With Director Paul Morrison: O
Wondrous Oblivion 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
WONDROUS OBLIVION may seem a puzzling title for this film about racism, coming of age, and understanding and acceptance, but if it is meant to tag the feelings with which the viewer is left after the film, the phrase describes it well. Some critics have labeled this a cross between BILLY ELLIOTT and FAR FROM HEAVEN and while that comparison may be a bit too heavy, the films share many things in common. Writer/director Paul Morrison has stirred the pot of nostalgia with all the right ingredients the result is a film that should bring a very large audience to its feet.The time is the 1960s in London in a neighborhood shared by Jews and other faiths. One family in particular, the Wisemans, live comfortably as German immigrants whose elder family members died in Nazi Germany. David Wiseman (Sam Smith) is eleven years old, and preoccupied with cricket, a sport for which he collects souvenir cards and idolizes players yet who has no skills at playing the game, but stays with his passion with the school team as a score keeper. His father Victor (Stanley Townsend) is all business, and his mother Ruth (Emily Woof) is a kind woman who seems to need more attention than her husband offers. Into the house next door moves a family from Jamaica - Dennis (Delroy Lindo), his wife and two daughters are happy people and play Jamaican music while they construct an odd entity in the tiny back yard, a construction that ends up being a cricket court as Dennis and his daughter are devoted cricket players.In no time the shy David introduces himself and shortly becomes invited to join in learning how to play cricket with the warmly loving Dennis and family. David learns the game well enough to become part of the school playing team and with his increased popularity he is honored with a birthday party, a party to which his new friend form cricket lessons next door is not invited. Hurt, she refuses to play with David any more and that fact unveils a series of events that have been in existence progressively since the black family moved into the white neighborhood. David's mother is warmly noticed by Dennis and the two come very close to a love relationship. Finally a tragedy occurs that brings out all of the needs and the prejudices, the feelings and the commitments that serve to change the way each of the families in the now mixed neighborhood view each other. The tragedy becomes a blessing in disguise.The flavor of the 1960s, the importance of familial Judaism, the joy of the Jamaican view of life and the bigotry that can decimate good people are all captured with great finesse by Morrison. The large cast is excellent with Sam Smith and Delroy Lindo giving particularly fine performances. This is a film that will warm the heart, teach us more about things we little understand, and leave us with the hope that Morrison will make more films of this high caliber. Highly recommended. Grady Harp