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Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: Boy is a dreamer who loves Michael Jackson. He lives with his brother Rocky, a tribe of deserted cousins and his Nan. Boy’s other hero, his father, Alamein, is the subject of Boy’s 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 he’s “in the can for robbery”. When Alamein returns home after 7 years away, 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 for. (Paladin) Expand
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 29, 2012
    75
    Hyper-stylized, funny, a crowd-pleaser.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Feb 28, 2012
    40
    Boy needn't be pop-culturally fluent to be relatable; believable human characterizations would have sufficed.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

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!!! Expand
  2. Apr 19, 2012
    10
    It's one of the best new zealand movies ever made! I had a pernament smile on my face through the whole movie. The Aussies dont make movies this funny. Collapse
  3. 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!!! Expand
  4. May 11, 2012
    7
    It is 1984, on the rural East Coast of New Zealand (Waihau Bay). Boy is an 11 year old dreamer who loves Michael Jackson and his father, Alamein. Boy imagines his father as a deep sea diver, war hero and a close relative of Michael Jackson. When Alamein return home, after seven years in jail, 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 for. Although this film broke some New Zealand box office records, it is quite New Zealand and Maori oriented and much of its humor may be lost on non-kiwis. That said, it is worth experiencing. Expand
  5. May 21, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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? Expand

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