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"Boy" (2010) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #51 Gem Mint 10.0

“Boy“ (2010)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi

Starring: James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititi, Moerangi Tihore, Cherilee Martin, Haze Reweti

Rated: Not Rated but I'd give it an R for strong language, some violence, and drugs & alcohol

Runtime: 1h 27min

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Country: New Zealand

Language: English | Maori

Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old child and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his absentee criminal father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.

You might like this if you like: Taika Waititi('s work "What We Do In The Shadows" 2014, "Eagle vs Shark" 2007, "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" 2016, "Thor: Ragnarok" 2017, "Jojo Rabbit" 2019), comedies, dramas, dramadies, New Zealand, coming-of-age stories, good-feel stories, Wes Anderson's films, family dramas, can't find a lot of reasons why you wouldn't like this

James Rolleston in "Boy" (2010)

I first heard about this film years back but never got a chance to watch it. It wasn't until a year or so after the release of "Thor: Ragnarok" (2017) did I devour the rest of Taika Waititi's work. So thank you Marvel for making me aware of this insanely talented and newly favorite director of mine. I started with his first film "Eagle vs Shark" (2007) which was odd and interesting. I could see how it leads into what will become his style.

My fiance and I also checked out his short film which won the 2005 Oscar for best short called "Two Cars, One Night" which you check out here on YouTube:

"Two Cars, One Night" directed by Taika Waititi (Winner of Best Short 2005 Oscars)

After that, we discovered "Boy" (2010) which we just absolutely fell in love with. Even after seeing "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016) and "Jojo Rabbit" (2019) it still remains my favorite of his films.

I love movies that highlight the small things in life and show how big they can mean to someone. Whether the film does that literally with objects or how the film was shot and creatively worked around a lower budget. It captures the beauty of the little things for me.

Te Aho Eketone-Whitu (left) & James Rolleston (right) in "Boy" (2010)

I love the imagination the characters and Taika have all throughout the film. The dream-like visions and flashbacks when the boy talks about his father before he gets to know him. Picturing his father as this hero and perfect image of everything he loves (including Michael Jackson, which I feel hasn't aged well with the whole "Leaving Neverland" documentary out on Hulu).

It explores that time in your life when you look up to someone so much you hold on to the image of that as long as you can because it helped you throughout all those years and when that image gets tarnished you almost can't accept it and tell yourself it's still the same, nothing's changed. Having that 'hero' of yours you've looked up to actually turn out to be someone different. It captures Waititi's and I's love for comic books and their characters. How it's informed our creativity and way of seeing the world or telling stories. So much wonder, curiosity and imagination.

Taika Waititi in "Boy" (2010)

The inner creativity of different mediums in the film are so wonderful! Especially with the little brother character Rocky and his 'superpowers'. The drawings they do and how they incorporated them were brilliant! A cheap and creative way to avoid paying for expensive scenes yet making it original, touching and in-line with the story is what Waititi does best. The music flows perfectly in the film, the mix of 80s American pop, original score and Maori music. Getting to see New Zealand through Taika Waititi's eyes is just a treat. Seeing, what feels like, an honest and close interpretation for what it what like for Waititi growing up and being influenced the way the he was by American pop culture.

James Rolleston in "Boy" (2010)

Taika Waititi has grown to become one of my favorite living directors/writers/actors and human beings. His work on Disney+'s "The Mandalorian" is incredible (acting & directing episodes). I can't wait for "Thor: Love & Thunder" (2021)! He's bridging the mainstream with the indie which what I'm all about. Anything he does I look to forward to checking out but "Boy" will always have a special place in my heart.

Written by Sam Gall on 09/21/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"It feels like a while since I smiled this wide and felt this good watching any film, kiwi or otherwise." - Kate Rodger, Newshub (NZ)

"It's a disarmingly lovely, big-hearted film, and hilarious in places." - Cath Clarke, Guardian

"It's relentlessly funny but depends in equal part on the charm of its characters and on Boy's sense of wonder at the world." - Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

"Even the inevitable flaws of the low-budget production are winning, showcasing as they do the narrative artistry that makes Boy so distinctive amid current factory-written studio productions." - John Barber, Globe and Mail

"Waititi does a nice tonal juggling act, balancing eccentric characters, a 1980s setting, child-drawn animation and Maori-inflected restagings of Michael Jackson videos with the painful consequences of parental neglect." - Mike Russell, Oregonian

Official Trailer:

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