Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Acclaimed actor Richard E. Grant's semi-autobiographical "coming-of-age at the end of an age" story is told through the eyes of young Ralph Compton (Hoult). Set during the last gasp of the British Empire in Swaziland, South East Africa, in 1969, the plot focuses on the dysfunctional Compton family whose gradual disintegration mirrors the end of British rule. (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    An unforced, engaging and surprisingly incisive account of the disintegration of British rule in Africa.
  2. The film is so well acted -- by Byrne, who makes Harry's internalized agonies and continuously carried torch for his ex-wife touching, and by Watson and Hoult -- that its more cloying moments, including a staged version of the musical "Camelot" (which is too long), are a moot point.
  3. Thanks to Grant's script and direction, the exotic Swaziland location (a film first) and an engaging cast, this smartly crafted drama radiates a gently comic pulse.
  4. 67
    Never less than good but it's also never quite great.
  5. 60
    Though far from expert filmmaking - visual clich├ęs fly thick and fast - the movie has a swooning feel for the stark beauty of the African kingdom in which it was shot.
  6. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    There isn't enough heft to the story to pull everything together. Watching it is like trying to assemble a puzzle that's missing pieces.
  7. 25
    The story lacks focus. The senses blur as wives and ex-wives come and go, and Harry regularly falls off the wagon, only to reform the next day.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. JonoN.
    Mar 12, 2007
    Delightful, engrossing and thorougly entertaining.
  2. WendyS.
    Jun 22, 2006
    I was very moved by this account of a childhood very similar to my own. The views of Swaziland were breath taking and the music was wonderful.
  3. RobertI.
    Feb 26, 2007
    Touches you emotionally in a way that an old-fashioned film can do: Swaziland becomes a metaphor for global change in the lives of strong characters.
  4. ChadS.
    Mar 29, 2007
    Lauren(Miranda Richardson) wants to leave Swaziland because she's bored with life in the outback. Only incidentially does this British subject, this conscienceless woman of privilege, give something back to her adopted homeland. Lauren's gift is that she gets lost, if only for a little while. Her disdain for Africa seems so manifest, plot contrivance can be the only explanation for her return. "Wah Wah" is a film about people shut-off from the bigger picture. Through their eyes, Swaziland is simply home, and not the spoils that colonization entails. Even a nice American woman(or is she an "Ugly American" with manners) like Ruby(Emily Watson), who probably should know better(she lived through the Civil Rights Movement), never acknowledges her role of being an unwanted interloper. "Wah Wah" documents the end of British rule in the African colony, and thankfully, its subjects never express any remorse for their occupation. It would've felt tacked on, dishonest; because "Wah Wah" is about people whose arrogance has such a practiced sheen and polish, they turned their hubris into class. Their time in Swaziland may have been "Camelot" to them, but to the indigenous people, natives who Ralph(Nicholas Hoult) refers to as the subject of a National Geographic shoot, they probably suppressed the instinct to "kill a lot" behind their obedient, pacific faces when called upon to perform for their colonizers. Expand
  5. DanielB.
    May 17, 2006
    I'm afraid I must agree with the NY Post on this one; this movie really needed to be slowed down somehow. It's nearly impossible to sympathize with any of the characters, including young Ralph. Expand