Boy: Movie Review
Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu
Director: Taika Waititi
Quite simply that's the only way to describe this latest film from the genius
behind Eagle Vs Shark, director Taika Waititi.
It's the story of Boy (a superb James Rolleston) and is set in 1984 on the
rural East coast of New Zealand.
Boy's a dreamer - he loves Michael Jackson and lives with a clutch of
cousins, his Nan and his brother Rocky (who believes he has super powers after
his mum died giving birth to him). He also believes he'll score the girl of his
He imagines his dad, a deep sea diver, carpenter and owner of some totally
boss Michael Jackson moves is overseas - the reality is his father Alamein (a
glorious Waititi) is serving a stretch behind bars for robbery.
One day, his dad gets out - and both he and Boy gradually bond. But as the
pair start to find their way in the world, and despite Alamein's love for ET,
Boy's forced to face the reality of his life.
Poignant, hilarious and heartfelt - and unmissable, Boy is a beaut of a piece
of New Zealand rural nostalgia, crammed full of funny moments and heartbreak as
the reality of Boy's life starts to take sharp focus in this coming of age
vignette from Waititi.
While there is a measure of the quirky, there's also a lot of humanity in the
story as Boy begins to realise that his father isn't everything he wants him to
be and that he doesn't want to grow up to be like his inept dad. Likewise
Waititi's Alamein is a beautifully textured performance; by turns he's comic
relief, then simmering violent resentment and finally accepting what life's
given him. Te Aho Eketone-Whitu's subtle performance masks a sadness in Rocky at
being bereft of a mother and facing the guilt she died giving birth - in fact
both the central performances from the two young leads are just beautifully
sublime and will see you go through the gamut of emotions.
Waititi's world is one I'd love to spend more time in - from its family
message about being true to yourself and your whanau, to some wonderful fantasy
scenes and animations, I really can't wait to see what he'll do next.
From the opening quote (from ET no less) and with the strains of Poi E
bursting onto the screen - right to the final moments (this critic won't spoil
those but let's just say, stick around when it looks like it's over), Boy is a
Kiwi delight and deserves to be loved worldwide.