Taika Waititi’s comedy-drama follows 11-year-old “Boy”, who together with his friends and younger brother find out what it means to belong to the Maori community in 1984. Despite the movie being set in an isolated, run-down village near the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, Boy is completely infatuated with 80s pop-culture; and when he isn’t using his novice Michael Jackson dance skills to attract his class crush, he’s dreaming up glamorised reasons for his father’s absence.
Writer and Director, Taika Waititi explores the family dynamic of remote New Zealand communities, where children possess roles that transcend far beyond their age. Boy’s guardian and grandmother leaves at the beginning of the film to attend a funeral in Wellington, meaning he is left in charge of his younger brother and four cousins. The footage of him taking on mundane domestic tasks, carefully preparing meals for his young family and tucking them into bed at night, are incredibly poignant given his cherubic charm. However, he is not the only Maori child expected to take on adult roles; his best-friend Dynasty regularly attends to her father’s cannabis field, nonchalantly checking and collecting the produce with her considerably younger sister in tow. Although the character is clearly advanced in maturity, the shots of Boy deep in discussion with his most valuable confidante and pet, Leaf-the-goat, give the viewer a reassuring insight into his wide-eyed innocence. It is on the return from one of these discussions, however, that Boy notices looming headlights approaching his home, only to realise it’s his father, fresh out of prison and back to retrieve some corrupt money that he buried in a field before his arrest.
The protagonist suddenly transforms from the paternal figure of five children to an 11-year-old son, yearning to get to know his father. Like the posters of Michael Jackson that consume his bedroom walls, Boy’s father Alamein, is also idolised in his son’s dewy-eyed gaze – where his empty promises only fuel Boy’s romanticised expectations, and set him up for disappointment. Alamein exploits this adoration for his own personal gain. Waititi masters the blend of coming-of-age drama and comedy in this film, where, tragically, the viewer watches Boy eventually relinquish his hold on a childhood he’s so desperate to experience, being forced instead to become “Man”.
Boy is released nationwide on the 13th October 2017
Watch the trailer for Boy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s6JqBOfPr0
Proposed Quotes: ‘bold, beautiful and touching’ ‘A must-see’