Review: Wondrous Oblivion

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(My oh my! Our reviewer loves this film Delroy Lindo)

The Samuels aren’t exactly welcomed when they move into a working-class London neighborhood. In fact, the only folks on the block who aren’t inhospitable are the Wisemans, an empathetic Jewish family who have already endured more than their share of suffering, being Holocaust survivors.

Today, Victor Wiseman (Stanley Townsend) is a workaholic who spends long hours at his drapery store downtown, leaving his younger, attractive wife (Emily Woof), and their 11 year-old son (Sam Smith) feeling a little neglected. Shy and retiring Ruth is longing for a little excitement in her life, while David needs help with practice to reach his dreams of becoming a cricket star.
When the Samuels arrive on the block, the mother and son both find in patriarch Dennis a person with the potential for filling their emotional voids. For after the muscular laborer erects a cricket cage in his backyard, he immediately invites curious David over for free lessons to improve his game. Meanwhile, Mrs. Wiseman is prone to fantasizing about her exotic and alluring, new next-door neighbor. And soon, she’s finding any excuse to interact with him while her hubby’s not around, which is most of the time.

However, Dennis does have a spouse of his own and three daughters, one of whom, Judy (Leonie Elliott), is an adorable tomboy who just happens to be about David’s age. So, we’re treated to a couple of parallel romances, one borne of innocent puppy love, the other illicit, and taboo for more than one reason.

Wondrous Oblivion is one of those multi-layered, cross-cultural soap operas (ala Secrets and Lies, My Beautiful Launderette, A Fond Kiss and Bend It Like Beckham) which for some reason the British seem to have somehow perfected. The story is set in the Sixties, where the incestuous Wiseman/Samuel melodrama unfolds against the dual backdrop of cricket and the ever-escalating intolerance on the part of narrow-minded Neanderthals.

Featuring a quartet of quality performances (by Delroy Lindo, Sam Smith, Emily Woof, and adorable Leonie Elliott) Wondrous Oblivion is, at heart, a touching rite-of-passage flick which simultaneously sends several valuable messages about friendship, fidelity, tolerance, and reaching for the stars.

Excellent (4 stars). Unrated, with racial epithets and sexual situations. Running time: 101 minutes
Studio: Palm Pictures.

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