A favorite movie: December Boys

“What’s the big deal about having parents anyway?”

Over the last few months I have watched but a handful of films. I spared few time for that, so I had to be picky. No dinosaurs, no weird comedies and no light adventures in which everything is a excuse to use CGI or special effects. I wanted something a bit deeper, yet not in that snobbish sense, just something that transported me out of my troubles and, afterwards, could make me think.

I found that with December Boys

This is not a review in the usual sense of it. That would not make much sense as this movie was released in 2007. No, my intention is to share what I have thought and learned from it. Hey, it’s good.

They share the same birth month, so the orphanage calls them December Boys. But these boys Maps, Spit, Spark and Misty ” have much more in common. With no hopes of ever joining a family, they form their own familial bonds. Then the unexpected news comes that a young couple may adopt one of them, and the long-time pals suddenly share something else: a rivalry to be the chosen one.


That’s the  product description from Amazon. It tells the basic story of the movie (*) but it misses a couple of critical elements. The most important is that these boys are sent from the orphanage to an elderly couple, where they would spend the best summer of their lives, an Australian Christmas summer, in a small village next to a gorgeous cove, complete with beach and an interesting fisherman who also has a dream, his Moby Dick. In this case, just a big fish, one that he loves and would suffer nobody else to catch.

In this movie, every character has a dream, which they don’t know they will realize. This film is about how their hopes and fears get in the way of their dreams.

(*) The original novel by Michael Noonan differs slightly from the movie.

We are all orphans.

Orphans make good characters for a story. I used to think it was because they have no parents that would restrict their adventures. But after watching this film, I know think it’s not that, nor pity, nor even a primary instinct of parent/motherhood which makes us care for the orphans in fiction.

But you know what, the truth is we are all orphans because,

We all have a Super – Dream

What’s a Super-Dream? I just made up that concept so I guess I’m the best to define it. A Super-Dream is a dream of excellence, something we so deeply want but cannot or are not sure to get. It might be the greatest novel ever, a Nobel prize, a woman, a man, “the” house, or even a year long family trip on your very own sailing boat.

Or yours. You might have hidden it, deep in your heart, but it’s still there. Mine? I have tons. It’s funny, I still have them, despite having recently got my last super-dream: getting a permanent, full-time, secure government job.

Let’s take Spit, Sparky and Misty. These three share a Super-Dream: a family. Yes, for an orphan older than five that’s a Super-Dream indeed. And these three are around twelvish. What are their chances? Slim. “Maps”, the oldest has lost hope in that Super-Dream. He still wants it so badly, though, but he “knows” it’s over for him, and yet, when the dimmest hopes surfaces, he can’t help to show its want.

And then we, the watchers, want them all to succeed in that hope, to fill that want, in other words: we want them to be our heroes.

We need heroes so somebody can tell us our Super-Dreams, too, are indeed possible.

Super-Dreams are misty

Do you know what’s funny about Super-Dreams? We don’t really know if they will turn out great or not. They are adventure incarnate. Like that family trip; what if the kids (or you) get bored after a week? Then what? What if you become a famous pop star and then just want your normal life back? Or what if you become a teacher and find out kids just hate you?

Put yourself in the shoes of these December Boys. What if they people who adopt them are not that good? What if they actually like the life of the orphanage better? They can’t remember having a family, they have only watched from outside.

Or, what if I marry and it ends up in painful divorce? You know, that happens. Stuff happens with our Super-Dreams too.

And yet we want them, oh do we want our Super-Dreams, despite all fears.

Super-Dreams are not -completely- up to us.

Let’s suppose I want to take a German language course. That’s up to me. I have a language school nearby. I do the course, study and in some months I will be able to survive in German. I’m good learning languages so I’m not concerned about that.

Writing a great novel, on the other hand, it’s something that is a bit up to the public. Hey, even getting it published is dependent about someone who would risk good money on it. I can’t know I’m a good enough writer.

These kids, any orphans, even adults who want to adopt know it’s not completely up to them. Somebody else will ultimately decide. Hey, they can be “good kids”, perfectly polite, thankful and all that, but nothing guarantees getting adopted.

And that’s exactly why it is a Super-Dream. If your dream is the family sailing trip, Will you get enough money to buy the boat? Will your family want to go too?

There is always a way to get your Super-Dream

Yes, maybe not in the way you imagined it first. But somehow. I mean, maybe all you need for a family trip are some boots or no boots! Just trekking away until you think it’s about time to head home.

You might not get “the house” but you can always get a place you can call home. You can always find love.

explained it better in his book, but let me see if I can tell you in one sentence: don’t miss the super-dream for its appearance. Go to the core of your dream, what you really want is love, fun, adventure, emotions, joy, creation, fulfillment and there are many ways to fulfil these, always.

Just like these four orphans did. How? Ah, you’ll have to watch it, I’m not telling, lips locked, key thrown to the sea.