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Actor and author Richard E. Grant made his directorial debut with this period comedy drama inspired by his own experiences growing up in colonial Africa in the sixties. Ralph Compton (Zachary Fox) is the 11-year old son of Harry (Gabriel Byrne), the minister of education in the British-controlled African nation of Swaziland. While Harry is a likeable and well-connected man, his marriage to Lauren (Miranda Richardson) is on shaky ground, and when he learns she's been having an affair with one of his best friends, she leaves him and he begins drinking heavily. Harry sends Ralph to boarding… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"I admired the movie and was happy to see it but can think of two other films about whites in Africa that do a better job of seeing their roles."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The actors give it a spark, and Grant directs his fine cast with sureness."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"After watching his directorial debut, Wah-Wah, I'd like [Richard] Grant to stay in front of the camera."
‑ Christopher Campbell, Cinematical
"While this is clearly a very personal film for Grant, and he seems to want to tackle some serious issues, his vision is too clouded by nostalgia to be truly compelling."
‑ Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
"Wah-Wah is never less than good but it's also never quite great."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"Watching it is like trying to assemble a puzzle that's missing pieces: You can see the outline of a story, and some shapes fit neatly together, but there are undeniable holes."
‑ Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune
"What is understandably a subject of great fascination to [Grant] soon becomes a crashing bore to us."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Emily Watson is delightful as the American step-mother, as is the rest of the ensemble."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"Grant is an impressively assured filmmaker, especially for a first-timer."
‑ Jack Garner, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
"Full of too much blah, blah. And way too much of the shrill, shrieking, screaming, carrying-on variety."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"Deftly balancing the end of British colonialism in Africa against a family's painful disintegration, Wah-Wah marks the impressive directing debut of Richard E. Grant."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"Gabriel Byrne gives a great performance as Ralph's troubled father, Harry, and Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson are enjoyable as Harry's wife and American lover."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"Grant has crafted a handsome period piece that never betrays his first-timer status."
‑ Kevin Lally, Film Journal International
"Only occasionally successful . . ."
‑ James O'Ehley, SA Movie & DVD Magazine
"The lush African setting sets this coming-of-age saga apart - it's too bad Grant didn't use it for more than picture-postcard backdrops."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
More reviews for Wah-Wah on Rotten Tomatoes