Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: David DeWitt
    Mar 1, 2012
    90
    This unpretentious comic tale of a youngster's growing relationship with a long-absent father has a surprising rhythmic genius: joy juxtaposed with humiliation, silliness with sadness, fantasy with reality, and none of it formulaic. The editing feels fresh, as does the film.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 25, 2012
    88
    A film like this would have little chance without the right casting, and James Rolleston is so right as Boy, it's difficult to imagine anyone else.
  3. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Feb 29, 2012
    83
    In its third act, this funny, bittersweet, tonally assured coming-of-age story grows unexpectedly poignant as Rolleston comes to realize he doesn't need a super-cool buddy or co-conspirator in his misadventures. He needs a father, and Waititi's stunted man-child is fatally unsuited and unqualified for that role.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 5, 2012
    80
    A delightful discovery, a charming little film about fathers, sons, New Zealand and Michael Jackson.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 15, 2012
    80
    Mr. Waititi, a popular standup comic in New Zealand, is wonderfully droll and entertaining in this acting role, which isn't all that far, geography and culture notwithstanding, from Steve Zahn at his stoner best.
  6. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 4, 2012
    78
    Like his previous feature, "Eagle vs Shark," Taika Waititi's Boy tells a mere wisp of a story, yet both films are filled with compelling characters, situational color, knowing observations about youthful behavior, and quirky bits of oddball and fantastical humor.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 5, 2012
    75
    A funny and touching coming-of-age story.
  8. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 5, 2012
    75
    Boy begins with an epigram from E.T.: "You could be happy here . . . . We could grow up together." That's what the film is about - finding happiness, growing up, feeling like a stranger in a strange world.
  9. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Apr 5, 2012
    75
    Waititi is still telling stories of offbeat, semi-delusional New Zealanders, and he's still sprinkling his work with cartoonish flights of fancy -- but this time he grounds the comedy in a big-hearted, bittersweet story about a boy desperate to connect with his father.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 29, 2012
    75
    Hyper-stylized, funny, a crowd-pleaser.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 9, 2012
    75
    It's a lovely oddity, and one that will probably hit home for preteen audiences all over the world.
  12. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 2, 2012
    75
    This charming kid's-eye movie, full of comical and vivid detail about the lives of these cheerful children, has the loose, lanky feel of a memoir and of French New Wave films.
  13. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Apr 26, 2012
    70
    Waititi's comic vocabulary hasn't changed much-there's a lot of voice-over narration illustrated with ludicrous, cartoonish tableaux - yet the kids' genuine longing for their no-good dad elevates this above simple deadpan humor.
  14. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 1, 2012
    60
    Waititi retains his quirky style, but it feels meaningful here, a valid effort to explore the difficulties in coming of age during tough times.
  15. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 16, 2012
    50
    The New Zealand feature Boy almost pulls off the trick of merging cartoonish humor and '80s pop culture with a story glancing at deeper family issues. The film has an appealing 11-year-old hero, but in the end feels half baked.
  16. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Mar 8, 2012
    50
    Writer-director and co-star Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark") never builds much momentum for his largely uneventful if sometimes inventive story.
  17. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 29, 2012
    50
    Less concerned with rendering the specifics of its setting (a small Maori town on the New Zealand coast) than in calling on bouts of whimsy and superficial cultural signifiers to approximate the headspace of its central characters.
  18. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Feb 28, 2012
    40
    The abundant charm of first-time actor James Rolleston, playing the 11-year-old of the title in Boy, doesn't quite save the aimless, nostalgia-woozy second feature from Taika Waititi (2007's Eagle vs. Shark).
  19. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Feb 28, 2012
    40
    Boy needn't be pop-culturally fluent to be relatable; believable human characterizations would have sufficed.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Apr 15, 2012
    10
    The greatest Australian film ever made, Boy is both intelligent and outright funny. Comedy and Drama mixed in such a picture perfect way that this film will forever be in my heart. The lead roles filled by two New Zealand boys are picture perfect. It shows that talent can be found even in the smallest of places. I will go so far as to say that the main character is on a Brad Pitt level. This is a true independent film that raised over 100K on Kickstarter to force a US release. This is a must see but a hard find. Once you watch this film your take on overseas english filmmaking will be forever changed!!! Full Review »
  2. Jun 3, 2012
    10
    This movie is amazing!!! It treads such a fine line that it really could have been a very different movie...but instead what we get is a beautiful coming of age story, with humour, sadness and a touch a touch of 'wes anderson' magic!!! I have sent this movie to all my friends overseas and I highly recommend you do the same!!! A gem like this needs to be experienced!!! Full Review »
  3. May 21, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Grace never had a chance. Stuck with a lush for a mother, an ogre for a dad, and a well-meaning, yet complicit older brother, the young girl, whose aspect mirrored her namesake, would have benefited from a big sister, somebody who saw with clear eyes that the community Grace belonged to was no place for a woman. In Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors, a riveting filmic representation of an indigenous people's cultural estrangement, Nig, the sovereignty-minded gang member, proved to be negligent in pushing Grace to reject outright the notion of a localized marriage and its violent hereafter. If Nig encouraged his sister to escape the urban subculture of their alcoholic parents, he could have saved the young storyteller's life. But instead, he presumed that Grace would resign herself to a Maorian girl's fate, telling the girl that "they'll be plenty of time for you to clean up after drunken f*****' parties," in the aftermath of another domestic disturbance. Grace's bedroom, however, indicated that she had no such designs on marrying her own kind, not with the posters of American movies adorning her walls, suggesting that the Maorian was looking for somebody who looked like Mel Gibson or Danny Glover, and not her father, the real lethal weapon. Unbeknownst to her family, Grace had plans on leaving home, since "the guys around here," to the girl, were "too ugly," a barbed commentary in regard to the cul de sac's potential lot of future husbands that was less about faces than hearts. Nig, who knew the feral ways of their father, somehow misses this barely-concealed dig at the Maori men outfitted with their hyper-machismo comportments despite the house tornado and the interiors dripping with matriarchal blood. To her best friend, a homeless boy living under the parkway, Grace had asked, "Do you think we'll get out of here," a question with a self-evident answer, since it was made in an abandoned car, a husked vehicle that was obviously going nowhere. In Eagle vs. Shark, the filmmaker's 2007 debut, the most important character, as it pertains to Maori identity, is left off-screen; she's the woman that Grace could have been, the girl who struck out on her own and married an outsider; in this case, a white man, and settled down to raise this multi-cultural family in the suburbs. Whereas Once Were Warriors advocated a return to one's roots, the Taku Whenua Tuturu of Beth's childhood, Eagle vs. Shark promotes assimilation among the middle-class, a dislocating quintessence for the female escapee that ends in divorce, leaving behind three half-breed Maorian children, including Jerrod, the confused urbanite who returns to the environs, site of a bad childhood, so he can beat up a high school nemesis and restore the family's honor. Staged as a comedy, in a sense, Jerrod's predilection for brutality is no laughing matter. His Samoan opponent, now wheelchair bound and penitent, doesn't stop Jerrod from going through with the fight, which he inexplicably loses, somewhat one-sidedly. He's no Jake the Muss; call him Jerrod the Wuss, but like the tyranny in which the slave descendant holds sway over his battered wife, the seemingly harmless electronics salesman, earlier in the film, as an avatar in a video game called Fight Man, beats Lily to a bloody pulp, even though his prospective girlfriend doesn't defend herself, similar to the scene of domestic abuse in the Tamahori film. In Boy, the 11-year-old Maori kid lives neither in the ghetto nor in suburbia; he resides by the ocean in a village, but like the Heke kids and Jerrod, the plaintively-named child grows up without knowing where he came from. The ancestors are left stranded in the ether that overlooks Waihau Bay, waiting for the lost children of New Zealand to be cognizant of their accessibility; ancestors who are no doubt chagrined from the undue neglect, made doubly invisible by false idols. Instead of the haka, the boy moonwalks, like his hero Michael Jackson, therefore denying his forebearers an entry point into his soul; his Kiwi essentiality co-opted by the popular culture of the west. He needs a role model, somebody such as Bennett, the social worker who teaches "Boogie" how to carry himself like a warrior. Sadly, the boy's paroled father, albeit neither mean-spirited nor violent, has nothing to teach his son. Alamein's "Crazy Horses" jacket links Boy to the short film Two Cars, One Night, whose real subject is not the banter between Romeo and Polly, but the children's alcoholic parents, who leave them unattended while they get loaded at the bar. His younger brother, lost in a book about Crazy Horse, wants to be a lawyer, a dream unrealized, as suggested by Alamein's apparel, which plays like a tribute, perhaps, to a dead loved one. What kind of man will boy turn out to be? Will he smoke pot and drink firewater, and become a zombie like his pop in the music video parody of Thriller? Can he break this ugly cycle? Full Review »