Boy (2010 film)

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Boy
Boy2010movieposter.jpg
New Zealand theatrical release poster
Directed by Taika Waititi
Produced by Cliff Curtis
Ainsley Gardiner
Emanuel Michael
Written by Taika Waititi
Starring
Music by The Phoenix Foundation
Cinematography Adam Clark
Edited by Chris Plummer
Production
company
Whenua Films
Unison Films
New Zealand Film Production Fund
New Zealand Film Commission
New Zealand On Air
Te Mangai Paho
Distributed by Transmission Films
Release date
  • 25 March 2010 (2010-03-25)
Running time
88 minutes
Country New Zealand
Language English
Maori
Box office $8.6 million[1]

Boy is a 2010 New Zealand coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Taika Waititi. The film stars James Rolleston, Waititi, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu, Moerangi Tihore, and Cherilee Martin. It is produced by Cliff Curtis, Ainsley Gardiner and Emanuel Michael and financed by the New Zealand Film Commission. In New Zealand, the film eclipsed previous records for a first week's box office takings for a local production.[2] Boy went on to become the highest grossing New Zealand film at the local box office.[3] The soundtrack to Boy features New Zealand artists such as The Phoenix Foundation, who previously provided music for Waititi's film Eagle vs Shark.

Plot[edit]

The year is 1984. Alamein, known as Boy, is an 11-year-old boy living in Waihau Bay, in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand, on a small farm with his grandmother, younger brother Rocky, and several cousins. Boy spends his time dreaming of Michael Jackson, hanging out with his friends Dallas and Dynasty, trying to impress Chardonnay, a girl at his school, talking to his pet goat, and making up wild stories about his estranged father, Alamein. Rocky, meanwhile, is a quiet, odd child, who believes he has dangerous superpowers because his mother died giving birth to him. One day, Boy and Rocky's grandmother leaves for a funeral in Wellington, leaving Boy in charge of the house and taking care of the other children. Boy is then surprised to see his father and two other men arrive at the farm.

Boy is overjoyed to see Alamein return, thinking that he has come to take the boys away to live with him, but Rocky is uncertain about their father's sudden reappearance. It seems at first that Alamein has finally come back to be in his sons' lives, but it's soon revealed that he is actually there to find a bag of money that he had buried on the farm before being arrested by the police. With his patched gang, the Crazy Horses (which is just him and two friends,) Alamein begins digging up the field, searching for the money. Boy sees this and offers to help, thinking Alamein is digging for treasure, and Alamein soon decides to hang out with Boy and be a father. He cuts his son's hair to look like Michael Jackson, and the two go on drives in Alamein's car and get revenge on Boy's school bullies. Boy brings Alamein marijuana to sell from a crop grown by Dallas and Dynasty's father, a member of a local gang. Alamein, uncomfortable with being called 'Dad,' convinces Boy to call him Shogun instead.

Boy begins to see himself as an adult and a Crazy Horse, growing distant from his friends. However, Alamein, unable to find the money, becomes frustrated and drives off, leaving Boy behind. Boy continues to dig for the money alone, until he finally discovers it. Excited, Boy hides the moneybag in his goat's pen, then takes his father's Crazy Horses jacket and proudly treats his friends to ice blocks and lollies. When Alamein drives up, Boy goes to tell him that he has found the money, but Alamein hits Boy for stealing his jacket and angrily questions him about where he found the money for the ice blocks, leaving Boy humiliated. Alamein later apologizes, telling his son for the first time that he loves him, and Boy goes to retrieve the moneybag; only to find that it has been eaten by his goat.

Alamein and Rocky continue to dig for the hidden money, making Boy uneasy. Boy decides to make up for losing the money by leading Alamein to the marijuana crop owned by Dallas and Dynasty's father, and Alamein gathers the entire crop. The group are spotted running away by Dynasty, who stares at Boy, betrayed. Later, Alamein takes his gang out to celebrate. Whilst waiting in the car with Boy, Rocky tells his brother that he likes their father, and wants to get to know him better. Another car then drives up, and the local gang gets out. Boy sees Dynasty sitting in the front seat with a black eye. The gang approaches Alamein and the Crazy Horses, confronting them over stealing their marijuana. At first, Boy imagines his dad successfully fighting off the gang in a Michael Jackson dance sequence, but reality comes back to him, and he sees the gang beat Alamein. While driving home, Alamein accidentally hits and kills Boy's goat.

The next day, Alamein is abandoned by his men, who steal the marijuana and the car. Boy visits his mother's grave, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, and finally comes to terms with the fact that all of his happy, early memories of his father are make-believe, and Alamein was in fact not even there when Rocky was born. Meanwhile, Alamein sits in the barn, depressed that he has been unable to find his money. Rocky comes up to him and attempts to comfort him with his 'powers,' telling Alamein that he is sorry he killed his mother by being born. Just then, Boy comes in and scatters the shredded money at Alamein's feet, then begins hitting his father, screaming to know why he wasn't there when Boy and Rocky's mother died. Boy tells Alamein that they are nothing alike, then returns to the house to take care of his cousins. The next morning, Boy and Rocky's grandmother returns home, and Alamein is gone.

Boy tells Rocky that Alamein has gone to Japan to train as a samurai. He reconnects with his friends and apologizes to Dynasty, then goes with Rocky to visit their mother's grave. The two boys find Alamein sitting there. Quietly, they join him, before Rocky asks, "How was Japan?"

Cast[edit]

  • James Rolleston as Boy, a Māori kid who is a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Boy dreams of becoming rich and going to the city with his father, brother, and his pet goat. His real name is Alamein, like his father.
  • Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu as Rocky, Boy's younger brother who believes he has super powers. He's very shy, likely because of his mother's death during his birth.
  • Taika Waititi as Alamein, Boy and Rocky's father; an ex-convict and national serviceman who wants to be the leader of a biker gang, and comes back to Waihau Bay to find his lost money.
  • Moerangi Tihore as Dynasty, Dallas' sister and one of Boy's best friends. She is the daughter of a biker, and seems to have feelings for Boy.
  • Cherilee Martin as Kelly, Boy's same-age cousin, who lives with him in the same house, with her three kid sisters.
  • RickyLee Waipuka-Russell as Chardonnay, a teenage girl that Boy has a crush on, and who totally ignores him.
  • Haze Reweti as Dallas, a long-haired boy and brother of Dynasty, who is one of Boy's best friends.
  • Maakariini Butler as Murray, one of Boy's friends from school.
  • Rajvinder Eria as Tane, Boy's Indian friend, who is always alongside Murray and Dallas.
  • Manihera Rangiuaia as Kingi, a school bully who often bullies Boy. He wears a Michael Jackson "Thriller" jacket.
  • Darcy Ray Flavell-Hudson as Holden, Kingi's older brother, who also bullies Boy but comes to fear Boy's father Alamein and comes to admire him.
  • Rachel House as Aunty Gracey, the sister of Boy's deceased mother, who owns a store in front of the sea.
  • Craig Hall as Mr Langston, the Pākehā school principal, who studied with Boy's parents.
  • Waihoroi Shortland as Weirdo, a strange fat man who lives near the bridge, and appears to always be looking for something. He seems to be childish and inoffensive.
  • Cohen Holloway as Chuppa, a Pākehā friend of Alamein, who is an ex-convict and very foolish, along with Juju.
  • Pana Hema Taylor as Juju, the other of Alamein's friends. He has a strange haircut, and like Chuppa is always getting himself in trouble alongside the kids.
  • Mavis Paenga as Nan, Boy's grandmother and Alamein's mother. She travels to someone's funeral for two weeks, leaving Boy in charge. She calls the children "My Mokos", which is short for mokopuna, the Māori word for grandchildren.

Production[edit]

Director, actor and writer Taika Waititi

Waititi started developing Boy soon after finishing the short film Two Cars, One Night; and it first emerged as a film called Choice. The project was accepted into the Sundance Writer's Lab in 2005, where Waititi workshopped it with script writers Frank Pierson, Susan Shilliday, David Benioff and Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal. Instead of making Boy his first film as a director, Waititi went on to make oddball romance Eagle vs Shark, and continued to develop the screenplay over the next three years.

When the script was finally ready there was a small window of opportunity in which to make it. Waititi dropped the title Choice because he felt it would not translate to international audiences, and the film was retitled The Volcano. "It was a big pain about this kid’s potential to be bigger than he is or just bloom or explode," said Waititi. "So it was a character in the script as well. When we were shooting the film it was still called Volcano and during the editing. We ended up cutting a lot of the stuff out."[4]

Waititi wanted to shoot the film in the place where he partly grew up, Waihau Bay. The story was set in summer, but it was challenging to shoot in the height of summer due to the area's popularity as a fishing and holiday destination. The film features the maize fields and the maize is harvested from late April.[5] James Rolleston was not initially cast as the lead role of Boy. Another actor was already in place when Rolleston turned up for a costume fitting as an extra. Waititi gave him an audition and after reviewing the film clips, Rolleston was offered the role two days before shooting began.[6][7]

Soundtrack[edit]

Boy
Soundtrack album by The Phoenix Foundation
Released 2010
Recorded 2010
Genre Soundtrack
Length 67:49
Label The Volcano Company Ltd and Franklin Rd
Producer Lee Prebble
The Phoenix Foundation film scores chronology
Eagle vs Shark
(2007)
Boy
(2010)

Release[edit]

Boy premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2010 and competed in the "World Cinema – Dramatic" category.[8] Boy was theatrically released on March 25, 2010 in New Zealand. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011 by Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Based on 65 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 87%, with an average score of 7.3/10 .[9] Peter Calder of The New Zealand Herald gave the film five out of five stars. He praised the performances by the three main actors and said "it's hard to praise too highly the pitch-perfect tone of this movie."[10]

Box office[edit]

On release in New Zealand the film topped the box office receipts for the week, earning more on its opening day than any previous New Zealand film.[11] The film grossed nearly $900,000 in its first seven days, beating Alice in Wonderland and homegrown pictures Whale Rider and The World's Fastest Indian. It also climbed above international animated-fantasy hit How to Train Your Dragon and mythical action flick Clash of the Titans.[2] Boy then went on to become the highest grossing New Zealand film to date on its own soil, taking over The World's Fastest Indian which had held the position for five years.[12]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boy (2012) (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Churchhouse, Nick (24 April 2010). "Home Boy hit helps keep local cameras rolling". The Dominion Post (Wellington). Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Boy Now Top Grossing NZ Film Of All Time". Voxy.co.nz. 20 May 2010. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  4. ^ Andrew Moraitis (20 August 2010). "Boytown". News Hit. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Boy Press Kit" (PDF) (Press release). Whenua Films. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  6. ^ Baillie, Russell (18 March 2010). "A Boy's own tale". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  7. ^ Audio Commentary: Taika Waititi, director; Cliff Curtis, Ainsley Gardiner, Emanuel Michael, producers. Boy. 2010. DVD. Kino Lorber, 2013.
  8. ^ "2010 Sundance Film Festival Lineup Announced". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Boy (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  10. ^ Calder, Peter (25 March 2010). "Boy review". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  11. ^ McDonald, Greer (29 March 2010). "Boy a hit at Kiwi box office". Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Wellington director's feature to be the highest-grossing NZ production". Scoop. 22 May 2010. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Winners 2010 Qantas Film And Television Awards". Scoop. Retrieved 30 October 2012.

External links[edit]