Release Date: March 09, 2012
Starring: Taiki Waititi, James
Rolleston, Te Aho
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Paladin Films
Director: Taiki Waititi
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Ainsley Gardiner, Cliff
Curtis, Emanuel Michael
Writer: Taiki Waititi
Address Comments To:Mark Urman, CEO/President, Paladin Films
435 W. 19th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 337-9500; Fax: (212) 989-1917
When his grandmother goes to Wellington to attend a funeral, a young teenager nicknamed Boy has to care for his younger brother and four cousins. Boy and his brother, Rocky, are poor and have lost their mother. She died giving birth to Rocky, which is why the grandmother now takes care of them.
To make their hard life bearable, Boy and Rocky indulge in fantasy. So, Boy dreams of being like Michael Jackson. And, Rocky imagines having super powers that can affect other people.
One day, their absent father (who was in jail for robbery) comes home with two buddies after being away for seven years. Boy idolizes his father and tries to emulate him. He imagines his father as a deep sea diver, a war hero, and a close, talented relation of Michael Jackson instead of the wannabe, childlike gangster he really is.
The father promises to take Boy to see Michael Jackson when he visits New Zealand. He enlists Boy into helping him dig up the robbery money he buried nearby to hide from the police. Boy gets to know his father, but it soon becomes clear that the father is a dreamer just like his sons.
Will the father and his sons face reality and grow up? Will the differences between Boy and his brother be resolved?
BOY is a quirky, winsome little comedy with dramatic moments. Its ending is touching and uplifting, but open ended. For instance, [SPOILER ALERT] the father and the two brothers resolve their conflicts, but the last shot shows them looking a little lost about what to do next as they sit by the poor mother’s gravesite. However, at one point during the movie’s uplifting moments, the song “Amazing Grace” is heard in Maori. This use of “Amazing Grace” adds to the movie’s slightly redemptive take on feelings of loss, but it doesn’t mean the movie is specifically Christian.
There are bigger problems with the movie, however. For instance, it has lots of gratuitous, rough foul language. Secondly, there’s also a lewd line that’s innocently repeated by the movie’s young teenage protagonist. Thirdly, BOY contains some alcohol use and scenes of drunkenness. Finally, there are references to smoking and selling marijuana. Regarding this problem, one of Boy’s friends at school is a teenage girl whose own father forces her to transport the marijuana stems he’s secretly growing and selling. Boy starts stealing the marijuana to give to his father, and the girl gets in trouble with her father. Boy sees her with bruises on her face, apparently from her father. Then, later, the father and a couple friends surprise Boy’s father and his friends at the local drinking establishment and beat them up.
These problems may reflect the reality of what occurs in many parts of New Zealand, and many other places for that matter. However, they will turn off the average moviegoer, who (as our annual comprehensive study of box office and DVD sales figures show) prefers more family-friendly material.
BOY is a quirky, winsome comedy with dramatic moments. Its ending is touching and uplifting, but open ended. The bigger problems are the movie’s gratuitous foul language, brief lewd dialogue, and a subplot about selling and using marijuana. This content will turn off the mainstream audience.