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Film / Boy (2010)

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Boy is a 2010 dramedy directed by Taika Waititi.

In late 1984, 11-year old Alamein Ranginui (called "Boy") lives on a small farm together with his grandmother, his younger brother and several cousins. When his grandmother leaves for the city for a week and he is left in charge of the house, his previously jailed father, also called Alamein, suddenly appears. While Boy often dreamed of a life with his father and hopes to get closer to him again, Alamein is out to find the robbed money he once buried in the area. Soon, Boy realises that his father is not the idol he always imagined.

Not to be confused with the Japanese film Boy (1969), The Boy or The Boy (2015).

The movie provides examples of:

  • Big Brother Bully: Boy is this to Rocky, insulting him constantly and, according to Rocky, even blaming him for their mother's death, saying that his 'super-powers' killed her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Boy's grandmother returns, meaning that that he, Rocky and their cousins have a caring and responsible adult looking after them. However, Boy's image of his father has been largely shattered. Alamein turns out to still be around, so the possibility of reconciliation is there. However, it's not clear if Alamein plans on sticking around or if he'll just run off on his family again.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Alamein reveals that he drew a swastika on his old bedroom wall, though he's matured enough to admonish his own son to not "get involved in the Nazi stuff."
  • Broken Pedestal: Boy idolizes his father, but his father quickly lets him down.
  • Broken Treasure: Leaf chews up and destroys the money that Boy has been searching for in the field.
  • Bullying the Disabled: The character of "Weirdo" is called "mental" by the main character, who throws rocks at the man and taunts him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Boy, finally, towards the end.
    Boy: I don't remember you! You weren't there! You weren't there when he was born! You weren't there when she died! Where were you?
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Leaf eats all the money of Alamein's plunder, Boy remembers one of his father's friends talking about melting the copper door knobs of the house and selling them. Unfortunately, he tries to melt them in the brand new microwave.
  • Cultural Cringe: When Boy asks his father if samurai were like traditional Maori warriors, Alamein sniffs and says they were much better.
  • Dance Party Ending: In mid credits, the cast spoofs the "Thriller" dance, combining it with Māori hakas.
  • Death by Childbirth: Boy's mother died giving birth to his brother Rocky.
  • Disappeared Dad: Alamein has been this to his two sons after Joanie's death.
  • Due to the Dead: When Boy's goat Leaf is hit by Alamein's car and he drives away, Boy and Rocky later return to the site, carry him home and bury him in his enclosure.
  • Extreme Omni-Goat: Boy's pet goat eats the money he hid in the old car in his backyard.
  • The Lost Lenore: Likely out of pride, he doesn't ever express it, but it's evident from his visits to the graveyard that the father does miss his wife very much.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Boy apparently told Rocky that their mother's death is his fault. Rocky even apologises to their father for 'killing' her.
  • Michael Jackson's Thriller Parody: During the Dance Party Ending, the cast spoofs the dance and combines it with Māori hakas.
  • Missing Mom: Boy and Rocky's mother died seven years before the movie takes place.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Boy picks on a mentaly challenged man who is always out scavenging on the beach. Rocky strikes up a conversation with him and learns that he's a pretty decent guy in spite of his lack of friends. Later, the man rescues Boy from drowning.
  • Once More, with Clarity: Boy recalls his mother's death by childbirth, with Alamein weeping at her bedside. When he recalls the scene again later, he remembers that Alamein was not there.
  • Promotion to Parent: Boy has to act as this to his younger brother and cousins when his grandmother goes away for a week, even though he is only eleven years old himself.
  • Railing Kill: Well, almost. After his relationship with his father goes off the rails, Boy sits on the railing of the bridge to reflect. However, being high and drunk, he falls over backwards off the railing. Fortunately he's rescued by the local loner whom he had earlier tormented.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: When characters in the film speak Maori, it is not translated.
  • Running Gag:
    • A spoon being misused, among others as a dash key or as a screwdriver. Boy even claims that his father escaped from prison using a spoon.
    • The microwave being mistaken as a television.
    • People calling each other "egg" as an insult.
  • Shout-Out:
    • E.T. and Michael Jackson get mentioned several times throughout the movie.
    • Hulk gets mentioned when Alamein talks about criminal and violent people who are actually good guys. Seven years later, Waititi got to make a movie that starred the Hulk.
    • Alamein asks to be called "Shogun" after seeing a copy of James Clavell's Shogun.
  • The Stinger: The last shot of the movie is Leaf the goat walking over a dance floor that lights up as it walks on it.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Boy turns into this, trying to act like his father, because he doesn't want him to leave them again. A major part of his Character Development stems from seeing through his father's selfishness and disregard for his children and finally realizing that the man he once idolized isn't worth the trouble.