Synopsis by Mark Deming
Royal St. Georges College is an exclusive private school for boys in Toronto, famed for its demanding curriculum in choral music. Noah and Colin are two longtime friends who attend the school, and filmmaker Sarah Goodman spent two years following the boys with a small camera crew as they went from Grade 8 at Royal St. Georges' middle school to their first year at the senior high; the result is When We Were Boys, a documentary that focuses both on the little seen world of wealthy and privileged youth as well as the first stages of the metamorphosis from children to men. Contrasting their angelic sound and behavior in choir to their more rambunctious antics outside the classroom, the film also chronicles the two youngsters as their evolving personalities begin to reveal themselves; Noah is well-mannered, bright and looked up to by his peers, while Colin is a bit of a prankster who begins taking a path that distances him from his straight-laced best friend. When We Were Boys was an official selection at Toronto's 2009 Hot Docs International Film Festival, where it was screened as part of the "Canadian Spectrum" series.