Released: May 20 2004
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Emily Woof, Stanley Townsend, Sam Smith
Director & Writer: Paul Morrison
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Catching onto the game is one thing, But grasping life is another.
Living in South London in 1960 is 11-year-old David Wiseman, the son of Jewish wartime refugees, who is passionate about cricket but no good at it. David is wondrously oblivious to his complete lack of skill and he's the laughing stock of the school team. When an exuberant Caribbean family become the Wiseman's new neighbours not everyone is as welcoming as David, for they set up cricket nets in their back yard and before long, David is joining them and learning about cricket. The West Indian father, Dennis, starts to coach David and they form a friendship that spills over into David's family and creates racial tension within the neighbourhood.
An ensemble cast serve the story well, featuring Delroy Lindo (The Cider House Rules, Malcolm X), Emily Woof (The Full Monty), Stanley Townsend (In The Name Of The Father) and introducing Sam Smith as David.
'Wondrous Oblivion' is one of those movies that grows on you as you watch it. At first it all seems a little bit ho-hum, but as the narrative develops, there is a charm about it that is irresistible. Sam Smith as David is such a sweet naïve, innocent boy that just wants to play cricket. He lives and breathes cricket, devising games on his bedroom floor using cricket cards he has collected, even talking to all the players on the cards. He really is quite delightful. When the Caribbean family move in next door and he watches from his bedroom window as they built cricket nets in their backyard, you can see him fill with excitement and anticipation that somehow he might become involved. He eventually does and that starts a friendship that brings with it many challenges.
In London in the 60's, even having West Indians living in your street was enough to start much gossiping and the Wiseman family start receiving threatening notes telling them to 'get rid of the darkies'. Easier said than done for the Wiseman family because as they begin to form a relationship with the neighbours, they learn much about the idiocy of racial discrimination, themselves being refugees also. This leads to near tragedy and the beginning of some much-needed eye opening lessons for the all the neighbours.
'Wondrous Oblivion' uses some archival cricket footage along with an original concept involving David's cricket card collection that is fascinating to see. It is an easy film to watch, although a bit slow at times. There are many lessons to be learned here or they are simply reminders of lessons past. It is a wondrous movie that will touch your heart.
Rating : B-