Mad About the Boy (12A) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Barnaby Thompson, US 2023, 92 mins.

Cast: Noel Coward, Rupert Everett (voice), Alan Cumming (voice)

Review by Carlie Newman

Noel Coward was such a very special artist – he wrote, he composed, he sang and acted. And all superbly. From the age of two he was a performer, but his accomplishments went far beyond simply being on stage.

This documentary about him almost succeeds in showing us his genius. He wrote 60 plays, acted in over 70 and composed some 500 songs. Difficult to capture this in a short documentary film even with the voice of Rupert Everett speaking as Noel. Although Noel was from a working-class family, he is best known for his clipped vowels and upper-class mannerisms. Noel was very close to his mother, who was the one who pushed him on stage.

Although very successful from an early age, Noel had one big secret. He was gay and, afraid of being outed in a non-accepting climate, he did all he could to hide his sexual preferences. There is little about hs gayness in the film, although we are made aware of it. But it does go through Noel’s life and reminds us all what a great artist he was.