Wah-Wah (2005) - Comedy, Drama

Hohum Score



Set at the end of the '60s, as Swaziland is about to receive independence from Great Britain, the film follows the young Ralph Compton, at 12, through his parents' traumatic separation, ...

IMDB: 6.8
Director: Richard E. Grant
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Miranda Richardson
Length: 120 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 8 out of 53 found boring (15.09%)

One-line Reviews (34)

Despite a stellar cast the film never really moves beyond the usual character traits of the British upper classes - alcohol, sex, racism and stiff upper lips and if both dull and predictable.

There are good performances and especially the stepmother is very entertaining to watch, as are some of the upper-class women.

The setting and depiction of the African scenes are breathtaking, albeit the focus is on the Brits in the process of returning this country to the Swazi.

Grant makes his writing and directing debut with this highly entertaining film about the last days of British colonial protectorate of Swaziland, East-South Africa, drawing from his memoirs as a child growing up in Swaziland the time when the Kingdom of Swaziland was given its independence from British rule.

Nicholas Hoult is one of my favourite young actors, and puts in a solid performance, looking convincing in the unusual and enjoyable movie setting of Africa post-empire – the first film ever shot in Swaziland, reportedly.

An interesting Coming of Age film taking place in Swaziland in the late 1960s and early 70s, round about the time of the country gaining independence from England.

As it is, a completely absorbing movie, being what it is, and for those who appreciate this kind of sometimes funny, sometimes moving melodrama.

However, the main weakness of the movie is that it is at some point rather confusing, and can be boring to watch due to the very nature of the film.

Instead, what we got was a brilliant, superbly paced, wonderfully entertaining feature film that held the audience to the last scene.

Absolute powerhouse performances from Gabriel Byrne (as an alcoholic divorcée) and Emily Watson (as an out of place American) join a watershed performance form the young Nicholas Hoult (from About a Boy), whose transformation from young boy to young man was one of the most compelling and convincing I have ever seen.

There are drunk fathers, charming seductress, unhappy children and pretentious upper class figures.

There was far too much use of cloying music as a counterpoint to the tiresome proceedings (Dad slams door, boy flinches and strings swell, etc).

Instead Grant depicts the colonial bungalow culture of boredom, adultery, snobbery and alcohol.

If conventional as a drama, it's finely made, and really quite enjoyable .

If I get bored very early in a movie, that's a bad sign.

The colonial bickering and the preparations for the royal visit were far more entertaining.

The moral double standards of Colonial Britain at it worst, coupled with what must be emotional scars etched into Richard's soul, produce a film of compelling proportions.

I found it very slow and I didn't sympathize with the characters.

And the delightfulness comes from everything about the film - a sentimental and touching story set amongst beautiful scenery, with a lovely score and stunning performances from all the cast.

I had high hopes but instead got an unoriginal story, told through a bland kid, with phoned-in performances from all the major cast (Miranda Richardson aside, although she didn't have to push herself), with dialogue that was stilted and cringe-inducing.

So it's got pathos, humour and it's downr entertaining.

This movie alternately had me laughing, cringing, or on the edge of tears.

It is a stunning portrayal of an only child brought up by feuding parents.

Richard E Grant's film about his formative years being brought up in Swaziland is fascinating for both what it shows and what it conceals.

"Wah-Wah" has the right blend of comic situations, gritty family conflict, stunning African scenery and caricatures of latter-day British imperial pretensions to entertain, engage and amaze.

Really, this feels like an episode of Wild Of Heart rather than a high end film with some big names, and so it only really works as mindless wallpaper to pass a dull afternoon.

He frames a believable portrait of a sleepy, dull, dying outpost, without romanticizing or condemning it, resisting the endless shots of wild savannah soundtracked by tribal drum featuring 'world music' that generally plague anything set in Africa.

"Wah-Wah" is worth watching because it paints an intriguing portrait of the British Empire's final days in Swaziland and the acting is very good throughout.

Ralph, being the main character, is particularly empty, despite Nicholas Hoult's best efforts.

This film is a highly entertaining view of a dysfunctional family from the viewpoint of the teenaged son.

What a dreary experience!

WAH-WAH is a coming of age story about a teenage Briton in Swaziland just before independence.

It also looks stunning: it is hard to believe this is Richard Grant's first film.