- 1 hr 37 min
Wah-Wah is a powerful and emotional film that tells the story of a young boy named Ralph Compton. Set in Swaziland in the late 1960s, the film is a semi-autobiographical look at writer and director Richard E. Grant's life as a child in the African colony. In the film, Nicholas Hoult plays young Ralph Compton, a sensitive and artistic boy who is struggling to come to terms with his dysfunctional family life. His mother, Lauren, played by Miranda Richardson, is an alcoholic who is deeply unhappy in her marriage to Harry, played by Gabriel Byrne. Ralph's father is a British government official who is trying to hold onto the last vestiges of colonial rule even as Swaziland moves towards independence.
As the film unfolds, we see Ralph struggling to understand the world around him. He is bullied at school, and his parents' frequent fights leave him feeling alone and adrift. Ralph's only solace is his love of filmmaking, which allows him to escape into a world of his own creation.
Despite the turmoil in Ralph's life, there are moments of joy and beauty in the film. Emily Watson, who plays Ralph's nanny, provides a steady and loving presence in his life. And as the country of Swaziland moves towards independence, there is a sense of hope and possibility in the air.
As the film progresses, we see Ralph grow up and begin to find his place in the world. Through setbacks and heartbreaks, he persists in pursuing his passion for filmmaking, eventually finding success as a director. Along the way, he comes to understand the complexities of his parents' marriage and the ways in which their own struggles impacted him.
Wah-Wah is a poignant and deeply personal film that offers a vivid portrait of a colonial society in transition. It explores themes of identity, family, and artistic inspiration, drawing on Grant's own experiences growing up in Swaziland.
The performances in the film are uniformly excellent, with Hoult delivering a particularly nuanced turn as the young Ralph. Miranda Richardson is also superb as Ralph's conflicted mother, capturing both her brittle exterior and deep vulnerability.
Overall, Wah-Wah is a moving and thought-provoking film that offers a window into a world that is both foreign and deeply familiar. It is a testament to the power of cinema to capture the complexities of the human experience and to offer a means of connecting with others across time and place.
Wah-Wah is a 2006 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 61.