Summer 2012 Features series
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 8:00pm
Directed by Taika Waititi
Screenplay by Taika Waititi
Starring Taika Waititi, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu, and James Rolleston
Rated NR ·
Directed by Taika Waititi, Boy is an hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale about eleven-year-old Boy (James Rolleston) growing up in Waihau Bay on the rural East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
The year is 1984 and Boy is a dreamer who loves Michael Jackson. He lives on a farm with his brother Rocky (Te Aho Eketone Whitu), his gran, a tribe of deserted cousins and a goat. Boy’s other hero, his father Alamein (Taika Waititi), is the subject of his fantasies, and he imagines him as a deep-sea diver, war hero and a close relation of Michael Jackson (he can even dance like him). In reality his father is serving time in prison.
When his gran leaves for a week, Alamein appears out of the blue. Boy comes face to face with the real version of his father – an incompetent hoodlum who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years before. Boy is forced to confront the man he thought he remembered, find his own potential and learn to get along without the hero he had been hoping would return.
In The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern writes: Five years ago, Taika Waititi, a New Zealander of mixed Maori-European ancestry, made Eagle vs. Shark, an endearingly odd romantic comedy. His new film, Boy is no less odd, but it’s also super-exuberant and super-affecting, thanks to the pairing of James Rolleston as the boy of the title and the filmmaker as his father. And the movie has been beautifully photographed, by Adam Clark, even though listening to it can be problematic – the accents are strong and the young, nonprofessional actors sometimes fall into piping, singsong speech patterns. For all its jovial trappings, however, Boy is a comedy with a serious core. It’s another case of a son having clung to an idealized notion of his father and, in a stunning climax and an exquisite coda, coming of age as he comes to grips with wounding truths.