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Wondrous Oblivion (PG)



Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's commentary; Cast and crew featurette; Trailer.

FEEL-GOOD British '60s set romantic comedy revolving around a central
theme of cricket.

Good Jewish boy, David Wiseman (Sam Smith), is mad about cricket.

He lives, breaths and drinks it. Unfortunately, he's crap at it: he can't bat, bowl or field.

This makes him the butt of jokes from his toffish schoolmates. But, to
Sam's credit, this doesn't dilute his enthusiasm for the game.

At home, Sam's obsession is given pretty short shrift by his pretty, highly-strung, young mother Ruth (Emily Woof) and his workaholic father (Stanley Townsend).

Nevertheless, Sam soldiers on, listening to Test matches on the radio and collecting cigarettes cards depicting cricketers.

The turning point for Sam comes when a West Indian family, headed by Dennis Samuels (Delroy Lindo), move in next door and promptly install a cricket net in the back garden.

For David, this is a dream come true. But there is one problem. From the outset, the Samuels are regarded with a mixture of suspicion and hostility by some of the David's neighbours.

Racist threats are delivered against
them and David's mother and father, while sympathising with the Samuels' plight (after all their own parents were subject to the same treatment, in Germany, during the war), warn David to stay away from them.

However, the lure of willow and leather is too much for David to resist and he secretly begins to take lessons from Dennis and his daughter, Judy.

Under Dennis' expert eye, he improves his game by leaps and bounds and pretty soon, much to the astonishment of his schoolmates, he has forced his way into the team.

As David's relationship with the neighbours blossoms, his parents
reserve begins to weaken and the families start to socialise.

And it soon becomes apparent that there is a certain chemistry between Ruth and Dennis.

Written and directed by Paul Morrison, Wondrous Oblivion is a fine example of British cinema, showing that there are sources of inspiration for British film makers aside from Get Carter (every crap London gangster film you've seen in the past 20 years), Emma (the ubiquitous period drama), or Carry On films (every feeble big screen Brit com ever).

The performances are universally good, and the onscreen chemistry
between Emily Woof and Delroy Lindo is convincingly steamy.

The points about cultural diversity, racism and bigotry are subtley made and the humour is warm, witty and generous.

If you only see one film about cricket this year, make it this one. Top stuff.

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