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Unit 5 About a boy


ENGLISH MOVIE
VIEWING LISTENING SPEAKING

Unit 5 About a Boy
Warming-up activity

Unit 5 About a Boy
? Directed

by ? Written by Starring
?

? ? ? ? ?

Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz Peter Hedges, based on Nick Hornby' best-selling novel ... ... ... ... ... ... Will Freeman Marcus Fiona Rachel Christine Suzie

Hugh Grant Nicholas Hoult Toni Collette Rachel Weisz Sharon Small Victoria Smurfit

? Release

Year:

2002

? Awards:

— Nominated for Oscar Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay ? 2003 — Won Empire Award for Best British Actor (Hugh Grant) ? 2003 — Won Golden Camera for Best International Actor (Hugh Grant)
? 2003

Part 1
Movie Exploration

Section A Movie story
Directions: Retell the story with the help of the hints given below.

?

?
? ? ? ?

1. Will, a 30-something bachelor content with his idle life 2. Marcus, a 12-year-old boy as a target of scorn and bullies at school 3. the suicide attempt of Marcus' mother on the very day when he meets Will for the first time 4. start of their friendship 5. changes in Marcus' life: winning respect from other kids; improving the relationship with his mother 6. changes in Will's life: realizing the real meaning of life; finding true love

Section B Character Analysis

Watch Movie Clips
(Focus on the following scenes, discuss the personality traits of the characters and fill in the blanks.)

Will Freeman (A Bachelor in His Thirties) a. ( at his friend’s home) refuse to be __________for his friend’s new-born daughter.

be the godfather

b. ( in the restaurant )feel pleasantly surprised when Angie, a single mum suggests that ________.
they break up

c. (in the shop ) buy _______________for Marcus, helping him blend in with the crowd.
A pair of new cool trainers

d. ( in the school auditorium) make a fool of himself by __________________.
accompanying on the guitar and singing with Marcus

Personality Traits: __________;__________;____________; __________;__________
a loner; a slacker; selfish; self-centered; shallow; cool; trendy

Marcus(A 12-Year-Old Boy)
? a.(in

the classroom) taunted by other kids because ____________________

? He

sings out unknowingly in the math class

? b.(in

the park) kill a duck with___________

his mother’s home-made bread

? c.(at

home) be stunned at the sight of _______________________________

? his

mother lying on the sofa

? d.

(at Will’s home) _________________and make friends with Will.

? try

to insert himself into Will’s life

? Personality

Traits: _________ ___________ _______________

a misfit ; weird; gloomy

Fiona(Marcus’s Mother)
? a.

( at home) try to ________________by overdosing on the dead duck day.

? commit

suicide

? b.

( in the restaurant) wear a hairy jumper, ___________in Will’s eyes.

? kind

of yeti costume

? Personality

Traits: _________ ___________ _______________

a hippie; depressed; near-hysterical

Task:Work in pairs and answer the
following questions.
1.What, according to Will, makes it possible for modern people to lead a comfortable island life? ? 2. Why does Will refuses to be the godfather for Imogen? ? 3. Why does Will see single mothers as perfect prey? ? 4. How does Marcus feel after his mother’s suicide attempt? ? 5.Why does Marcus decide to sing a song in the school auditorium?
?

?3

Why does Joe Miller initially refuse to take the case?
finally makes Joe Miller take the

? 4.What

case?
? 5.

What do you think of the scene where Beckett plays an aria from his favorite opera for Miller?

Section C A Review on the Movie

Directions: Listen to an interview and complete it by filling
in the blanks. In this section, Daisy, a reporter from the Movie Review column of the Oriental Daily, is interviewing two college students, Susan and Mark, for their ideas about the movie About a Boy.
D for Daisy M for Mark S for Susan

D: What do you think of the movie About a Boy, Mark? M: A charming comedy fueled by sharp, cynical humor. You know, I laughed all the way through it.

S: Yeah, (1) But I must admit that at the beginning I struggled to get into the film because I hate such a shallow, selfish womanizer. D: Really? Then what has changed your mind, Susan?

S: The amazing relationship or I should say friendship between Will and Marcus. Will, a man dedicated to the proposition that (2) spends his life on his own private urban island.(3) ! Meanwhile Marcus has his hands full of problems ranging from taunts and bullies at school to his mother's attempted suicide at home.

D: That's true. Marcus and Will have totally different lives before they meet each other. S: It is the tragic event of Marcus' mom's suicide attempt that makes them (4) . Will gives Marcus confidence and sound advice about life, and helps him deal with a crush he has on a girl, while Marcus brings Will warm fuzzy feelings (5) , and a relationship that he is unprepared for but yearns for, and makes him realize that there's something more to life than watching TV or buying things. The two unlikely friends form a close bond. Through their relationship, I discover that Will does have "hidden depths".

M: Quite right. What's more, their friendship helps both boys find their own way of growing up.

D: Both boys growing up? Very interesting!
M: You know (6) . In my view, Will is just a man who refuses to grow up and (7) . On the contrary, Marcus, a 12-yearold kid living in a single-mother family, is precocious. In a sense, with an awareness of life (8) , Marcus is more mature than Will.

S: I can't agree more. Marcus helps Will come to realize who he is, and what he's doing or not doing, which makes Will win Rachel back and (9) . M: At the same time, Will teaches Marcus what to buy and how to connect to people. Big boy helps little boy and vice versa. By the end of the movie both boys have grown immensely due to their friendship. Will opens himself up to others and Marcus realizes that (10) . D: I see. About a Boy is really a warm, funny and touching movie about friendship and love. Thank you very much for sharing your ideas with me.

Directions: Listen to an interview and complete it by filling
in the blanks. In this section, Daisy, a reporter from the Movie Review column of the Oriental Daily, is interviewing two college students, Susan and Mark, for their ideas about the movie About a Boy. D for Daisy M for Mark S for Susan

D: What do you think of the movie About a Boy, Mark? M: A charming comedy fueled by sharp, cynical humor. You know, I laughed all the way through it.

S: Yeah, (1)a funny, touching movie. But I must admit that at the beginning I struggled to get into the film because I hate such a shallow, selfish womanizer. D: Really? Then what has changed your mind, Susan?

S: The amazing relationship or I should say friendship between Will and Marcus. Will, a man dedicated to the proposition that (2)all men are islands, spends his life on his own private urban island.(3) Happy and depression-free life! Meanwhile Marcus has his hands full of problems ranging from taunts and bullies at school to his mother's attempted suicide at home.

D: That's true. Marcus and Will have totally different lives before they meet each other. S: It is the tragic event of Marcus' mom's suicide attempt that makes them (4) become emotionally connected to each other. Will gives Marcus confidence and sound advice about life, and helps him deal with a crush he has on a girl, while Marcus brings Will warm fuzzy feelings (5)which he is completely unaccustomed to, and a relationship that he is unprepared for but yearns for, and makes him realize that there's something more to life than watching TV or buying things. The two unlikely friends form a close bond. Through their relationship, I discover that Will does have "hidden depths".

M: Quite right. What's more, their friendship helps both boys find their own way of growing up.

D: Both boys growing up? Very interesting!
M: You know (6)growing up has nothing to do with age. In my view, Will is just a man who refuses to grow up and (7)take the role of responsible adult. On the contrary, Marcus, a 12-year-old kid living in a single-mother family, is precocious. In a sense, with an awareness of life(8) far beyond his twelve years of experience, Marcus is more mature than Will.

S: I can't agree more. Marcus helps Will come to realize who he is, and what he's doing or not doing, which makes Will win Rachel back and (9) get to know the real meaning of life. .

M: At the same time, Will teaches Marcus what to buy and how to connect to people. Big boy helps little boy and vice versa. By the end of the movie both boys have grown immensely due to their friendship. Will opens himself up to others and Marcus realizes that (10) life can be more than just depressing. .
D: I see. About a Boy is really a warm, funny and touching movie about friendship and love. Thank you very much for sharing your ideas with me.

Task : Work in groups and hold a full discussion on the following question. In the movie Will and Marcus are the two unlikely friends who have formed a close bond. Do you think that two people will develop a close friendship despite great difference in age?

Part 2

Culture Reflection

Section A
Hippie Lifestyle (放音 )
As is shown in the movie About a Boy, Marcus is often bullied at school because of his hippie lifestyle which is forced on him by his mother. Thus a glimpse into the hippie lifestyle will definitely enable Chinese audiences to better understand the movie

As a predominant trend and movement against social icons and conventions, hippies integrate dramatic arts, folk music, psychedelic rock and visual arts into their thinking and behavioral patterns. They support sexual liberation and promote the use of psychedelic drugs. Nature, peace and freedom oriented, hippies are often vegetarian and eco-friendly.

Hippies' fierce objection to and hatred of social restrictions find full expression in their instantly recognizable dress and grooming. Both men and women like to wear sandals or even go barefoot. Men often grow beards and maintain long hair. Hippies often wear brightly-colored clothes with unusual styles, such as bell-bottoms, vests, peasant blouses and long, full skirts. Their favorite accessories range from head scarves, headbands, long beaded necklaces to Native American jewelry. Some hippies plait beads and colorful threads into their hair. Their homes and vehicles are often decorated with psychedelic art.

Section B

The movie About a Boy depicts several single mothers and their children. So a glimpse into single parent families will definitely enable Chinese audiences to better understand the movie.

One of the most striking changes in family structure over the past several decades has been the increase in single parent families, also called one parent families or lone parent families. According to the statistics, in the UK, approximately 25% of children are being raised in single parent families, while in the US, 28% of children under 15 live with single parents. 90% of single parent families are headed by females.

Nowadays children are more likely to reside in a single parent family for reasons other than the death of a parent. The increase in the number of single parent families occurs mainly because of people's increasing acceptance of pluralism in family life. It is easy for incompatible couples to resort to divorce. Fewer people get married and more choose cohabitation. Consequently, more children are born outside marriage. All these changes seem to be a product of increasing social tolerance and less rigid sex morals. With little consideration for children's sentiments, some parents never hesitate to turn over a new marriage leaf.

Task : Work in groups. Conduct independent research on the following questions and present your findings in class.
1. What are the effects of single parent families on the society? 2. How to weaken the negative effects of single parent families on people?

Part 3
Language Appreciation

Section A
? 1.

Language Tips

Lexical Groups ? 2. Idiomatic Expressions

I. Lexical Groups
Family life is a universal human experience. Familiarize yourself with the following words and expressions concerning family life and learn to use them properly.

family 核心家庭,小家庭 ? extended family 大家庭 ? Single parent family 单亲家庭 ? Matrimony/wedlock 婚姻 ? prenuptial agreement 婚前协议 ? Marriage registration 婚姻登记 ? spouse 配偶 ? divorce 离婚 ? cohabitation 同居 ? domestic violence 家庭暴力
? nuclear

II. Idiomatic Expressions

Section B
Directions:

Excerpts and Expressions

The following excerpts are taken from About a Boy. Watch these excerpts, pay attention to the underlined expressions and learn to use them properly.
Have a study of the underlined sentences, and try to analyze their functions of rhetorical effects.

Setting: Marcus is bullied by some older boys and takes shelter at Will’s home. Will: So who were they, then? ? Marcus: Who? ? Will: What do you mean, "who?" The ones trying to embed sweets into your skull. ? Marcus: Oh, them, just a couple of older kids. They started following me after school. ? Will: Was this happening often? ? Marcus: They've never chucked sweets before. They only just thought of that one. ? Will: I'm not talking about sweets. I'm talking about kids trying to kill you.
?

Marcus: Oh, yeah, they give me a hard time, you know, about my hair, my clothes and singing and stuff. ? Will: And what? And singing? ? Marcus: Oh, sometimes I sing aloud without noticing ? Will: That's not a brilliant idea, is it? ? Marcus: I did it without noticing, didn't I? It just happens. I'm not gonna do it on purpose, am I? I'm not stupid, you know. ? Will: My advice is, you know, just keep out of people's way, try and make yourself invisible.
?

Marcus: How is it possible to be invisible? Is one of the machines in your kitchen an invisible machine? I don't think so. I just try not to think of it, that's all. It happens, and I wish it didn't. But that's life, isn't it? There's nothing I can do about it. ? Will: No. There is something we can do about it, Marcus. You're coming with me. ? Marcus: (Narrating: I was worried Will was going to take me to the headmistress' office. But instead, he took me shopping.) I don't get it. ? Will: We're starting with your feet, Marcus. I can't make you invisible, but I can make you blend in with the crowd.
?

Notes: A tag question is a grammatical structure in which a declarative statement or an imperative is turned into a question by adding an interrogative fragment (a miniquestion). The basic structure is a positive statement followed by a negative tag and a negative statement followed by a positive tag. Quite common in colloquial spoken usage, tag questions are often used to ask for information, help and confirmation or to emphasize a statement. They can be an indicator of politeness, emphasis or irony, etc.

Tag questions can have a rising or a falling intonation pattern. Rising tune in tag questions is used when asking for information or motivating an action, that is, when certain response is required, while falling tune is used when asking for confirmation and emphasizing a statement. In this part, Marcus uses several tag questions not to ask for information but to emphasize, telling Will what happens to him in his life.

Task :
Have a study of the underlined sentences, and try to analyze their functions of rhetorical effects. Setting:Will refuses to help Marcus who is afraid that his mother is going to commit suicide again.

Marcus: Mum's at it again. ? Will: At what? Sorry. ? Marcus: What do you mean, what? The crying. She sits in the house all day crying. She does it in the mornings, too. She's as bad now as it was before the dead duck day. ? Will: Marcus, look, I'm sorry, mate. I'm, um, a bit busy at the moment. ? Marcus: You're busy? Doing what? Didn't you hear me? ? Will: Yeah, I heard you! I heard you. What do you want me to do about it? ? Marcus: I don't know. You could talk to her. ? Will: Oh, yeah? What would I say?
?

?

?

Marcus: Will:

?

?

I don't know! Why would she listen to me? Who am I to her? I'm nobody. Marcus: You're not nobody. You are … Will: Who? Who do you think I am? Who do you think you are? You come here uninvited. You disrupt my life. You screw things up. What do you want from me? Marcus, this isn't my problem. I'm not your family. I'm not. I'm not your uncle. I'm not your big brother. And I think we've established firmly now I'm not your father either, am I? I'll tell you what I am. I'm the guy who's really good at choosing trainers or records, okay? That's it. I can't help you with real things. I can't help you with anything that means anything.

?

Marcus: You could try. You're right. You can't help me. How could you? You're just a stupid person who hangs around watching TV all day and buying things. You don't give a shit about anybody, and anybody gives a shit about you.

Notes: Derived from the Greek word for "ladder",
climax is a figure of speech, in which words, phrases or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance or intensity, just like the steps of a ladder ascending. Climax is widely used by speakers and writers to make their speech or writing more effective and help stirring up feelings and emotions.

The following is a good illustration: I'm not your family. I'm not. I'm not your uncle. I'm not your big brother. And I think we've established firmly now I'm not your father either. Here Will tries to convince Marcus that he cannot help him and he has no reason to help him by using the syntactic scheme of climax to convey his thought clearly and effectively.

? Task:

Work in pairs and play the roles in this part. Pay special attention to your delivery.

Section C

Memorable lines

Appreciate the following lines and learn them by heart.

1.

Setting: At the beginning of the movie, Will expresses his opinion that all men are islands. He believes that this is an island age and explains the reason.
A hundred years ago, for instance, you had to depend on other people. No one had TV or CDs or DVDs or videos or home espresso makers. As a matter of fact, they didn't have anything cool, whereas now, you see, you can make yourself a little island paradise. With the right supplies and more importantly, the right attitude, you can be sundrenched, tropical, a magnet for the young Swedish tourists.

一百年前,你要依靠别人,当时没有电视、CD、DVD 、或家用咖啡机。事实上,他们没有任何时尚的东西 。而现在你可以把自己打造成一个 天堂小岛,只要 有适当的装备,更重要的是态度, 你就可以过阳光 灿烂的日子,吸引无数年轻的女游客。

2. Setting: On the dead duck day Fiona overdoses and is sent to hospital. Will drives Marcus and Suzie home from the hospital at night and he doesn’t want to experience such things again. The thing is, a person's life is like a TV show. I was the Star of the Will Show. And the Will Show wasn't an ensemble drama. Guests came and went, but I was the regular. It came down to me and me alone. 情形是这样的, 人生就像一部电视剧,我是“威尔 ”剧的主角。“威尔剧”不是集体演出的剧,客串 角色来来往往,主角只是我一个, 由我独挑大梁。

3. Setting: At the end of the movie, Will changes his
attitude.
Every man is an island. I stand by that. But clearly some men are part of island chains. Below the surface of the ocean they're actually connected.

我仍然相信每个人是一座荒岛,不过,显而易 见,有些人的荒岛也会连成群岛,在海面先他 们相互连接。

Recommendation of Similar Movies
A Perfect World Bridget Jones’s Diary (1993) (2001)


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