Four orphan teenagers are growing up behind the closed doors of a Catholic convent in outback Australia during the 1960s. As the boys watch younger kids get adopted by loving families, they begin to realize that as they get older, their turn may never come. The Reverend Mother gives the boys something to look forward to by sending them to visit the seaside for the first time.
While at the seaside, the boys meet a young couple unable to have children, who would make the perfect parents. The eldest of the boys, Maps (Daniel Radcliffe), finds himself drawn to Lucy, a beautiful girl from down the coast. Competing to be the most adoptable, the rest of the boys, Sparks, Misty and Spit, severely test their friendships as long gestating feelings of rejection explode to the surface.
The bonds of friendship eventually overcome the rivalries, sealing forever the strong ties that bind the December boys as they learn the real meaning behind friendship, family and love.
Based on the classic novel of the same name by Michael Noonan.