The way we construct our images of people when we can’t see them is always dangerous. When the reality appears, it can be devastating. The reality is rarely, if ever, as we imagine and we are often disappointed and struggle to come to terms with that reality.This is the central theme of the delightful New Zealand movie Boy written and directed by Taika Waititi.
Boy (Janes Rolleston) lives on a farm with grandmother, younger brother, Rocky (who believes he has magical powers which killed his Mum), and a goat called Leaf. When Gran leaves for a week to attend a funeral Boy is left in charge. Boy’s father, Alamein (played by Taika Waititi) turns up after being released from prison. He and his mates have formed a gang of three and are looking for some money from a previous robbery buried in one of the paddocks of the farm. During the absence of his father, Boy has imaginatively built his father into a hero of larger-than-life proportions. Of course, the reality is very different than Boy’s larger-than-life picture and, while he struggles to maintain the wish he has for his father to really be a hero, the reality gradually sinks in that his father is nothing more than a loser.
Boy is a delightful story filled with humour and sadness, joy and pain. The soundtrack tends to dominate a bit at times, but the characters are quirky and endearing and the struggle to come to terms with reality are wonderfully represented. The cinematography is just as one would expect from a New Zealand landscape but the buildings reflect the themes of the movie as they undermine the beauty of nature — the tension between idealised fantasy and everyday reality are a constant undercurrent in the film.
The poster for the movie is iconic of the story — innocence, beauty, humour. It’s a heart-warming narrative that takes you through heartache before a beginning maturity that can tackle reality headon arrives for Boy. The movie’s unassuming nature makes it unlikely to appear in mainstream cinemas. But, if it comes to a cinema near you, don’t miss it.