Saturday, September 11, 2010


Every now and then I see a movie which disappoints. This week’s ‘Boy’ on DVD was one such. I’d looked forward to seeing it. Which maybe was the problem. Hype leads to disappointment be it Obama, be is Boy.

Superb acting from the young Maori, lovely East Coast scenery (Waihau Bay), and good music are the plus points. But I did not see it as the comedy it is billed as. The father acted by Taika Waititi, who wrote the script and directed, is a tragic figure. He comes across as a buffoon small-time hoodlum undeserving of the devotion and loyalty of his eldest son. The father’s lack of understanding and carelessness could have been frightening. But this viewer did not feel that involved.

There are funny moments such as his attempted entry into his car through the open window. But they reveal his incompetence as a human being. His hit and run killing of his son’s pet goat was tragic. For the son. I think the teacher in me found the role-modelling distressing.

Unlike ‘Whale Rider’ which I found uplifting this one left me dispirited. There was a sense of hopelessness about it that I found bleak. It was a film I found that teetered on the brink of greatness and failed to make it for me. Shame! Its box office success suggests I am the one who is wrong. It could be my present mood. But I found the accumulation of disappointment for Boy hurtful. Maybe the return of Grannie is a signal of a better life. But the Boy who could put crayfish on the table for his siblings deserved better.

My pennyworth is that it wavered between cult and reality. It would have been better if it had gone either way. And I found continuity a problem. Before I sound too grumpy remember I did give it three pluses. And Anne liked it more than I did.


  1. I found it sad as well. It was delightful in many ways, not least of which was the delightful child actors and the warmth. But underneath it all was the fact this is reality for an increasing number of kids today, not some 1970s fairytale. There are tens of thousands of children with deadbeat child-men for 'fathers', the children and then society are paying a price the child-men never do.

  2. I think part of what disturbed me about it was that the humour was so strongly dominated by schadenfreude - which I think does (should?) get less funny, the closer it resembles real life.
    I enjoyed the film very much - but that was why I was left feeling so uncomfortable, I think....