Film Review: Spud

(M) Directed by Donovan Marsh

Two things happened in South Africa in 1990. Nelson Mandela was released from prison and John (Spud) Milton (Troye Sivan who was born in South Africa but now lives in Perth) started at an elite boys’ boarding school after winning a scholarship. The eight boys in his dormitory had nicknames like Gecko, Rambo, Man dog and Rain Man and at the communal showers he was nicknamed Spud. Spud is not enthralled with the fine tradition of caning the boys’ buttocks but the usually cantankerous English teacher The Gov (John Clease) takes a special interest and lends him books so he can learn about life. He is totally out of his depth when the girls arrive to take part in the school musical but fortunately his fine voice saves him. Based on the novel by John Van de Ruit, this tender and funny coming of age film has echoes of John Duigan’s Flirting.

Lezly Herbert

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