David Wiseman (Sam Smith) is a ten-year-old Jewish boy who lives with his European immigrant parents in London; the year is 1960. He is absolutely bonkers over cricket and has a large card collection of his favorite players. At school a teacher watching him attempt to master the game comments on his wondrous oblivion to what is going on around him.
Everything in David's life changes when the Samuels move into the brownstone next door. These Jamaican immigrants play loud music and use fertilizer that bothers the snooty neighbors. David's father Victor (Stanley Townsend) warns his son to steer clear of these outsiders who are "different." David's mother Ruth (Emily Woof) has already noticed racial prejudice directed toward her in not so subtle ways.
Dennis Samuels (Delroy Lindo) replaces the rose garden in his backyard with a cricket cage and begins practicing the game with his young daughter Judy (Leonie Elliott). When David comes out to play, the Jamaican sees how bad he is and volunteers to coach him. The boy strikes up a friendship with Judy, a shy but gifted cricket player. Of course, this association sets the mouths of the bigots in the community wagging. But perhaps, the person most pleased with Dennis is Ruth, an attractive Jewish woman who never experienced romance when she was young. Part of her attraction to the Jamaican is his tenderness with David who hasn't received much attention or praise from his busy dad.
Writer and director Paul Morrison's first effort was Solomon and Gaenor, an intimate drama about an unlikely love affair between a Welsh miner's daughter and a Jewish salesman; this director is interested in what happens when people from different backgrounds mix. In one of the best scenes in Wondrous Oblivion, the Samuels invite David to visit their church; his reading in Hebrew inspires the church choir to sing in counterpoint with him.
But practicing openness and tolerance is hard. After he wins a spot on the school cricket team thanks to Dennis' coaching, David has a birthday party attended by his teammates. Judy brings him a present, but he doesn't invite her in. She is heart-broken.
In an interview about the film, Morrison observed: "Wondrous Oblivion is not about cricket, but it is a good metaphor. It's the story of the coming of age of David, his mother, father, and the whole neighborhood. I think that the big issue for the twenty-first century is people learning to celebrate and enjoy difference rather than being afraid of other people."
The last section of the drama shows how prejudice can be dealt with in ways that draws out the humanity of everyone in the neighborhood. Delroy Lindo's portrait of Dennis is the heart and soul of the film. This Jamaican is a simple and wise man who knows a lot about helping others build their self-esteem.
Special DVD features include a commentary by director Paul Morrison.