Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
We often build up people we look up to, creating a myth in our minds of who they are. People often fall short of that myth, how we handle that can help us grow or set us back. Boy (2010) is a absolutely wonderful and heartfelt coming of age story written and directed by Taika Waititi.
Our main character Boy is the eldest child in a group of children being raised by his grandmother. His younger brother and cousins are left under his care when his grandmother has to leave town for a few days to attend a funeral. Boy has responsibilities beyond his year, cooking, caring for, and cleaning after the other children. With this responsibility he still has the imagination and playfulness of an 11 year old, the juxtaposition of these two aspects of Boy are the heart of this film.
Boy’s world revolves around idolizing is long absent father. Who Boy describes as a “master carver, deep sea treasure driver, the captain of the rugby team, and he hold the record for punching out the most people with one hand.” Boy has a world picture of his dad as a hero and superhero even. We learn in a funny moment the truth may be far from that as a classmate says: “Your dad’s not overseason, he’s in jail for robbery...he’s in the same cell as my dad.”
Boy’s dad returns a turns Boy’s world upside down. Boy thinks his hero father is going to take him away from the small town and everything will be perfect. His dad (played by director Taika Waititi) fails at every turn to live up to these visions as he is a petty criminal and wholly immature. Things come to a head as Boy confronts his father for his deadbeat ways and an emotionally and heartbreaking scene. Boy literally picks his life back up after his father wrecks it, and moves own. The ending does hint at the idea that Boy may give his father a chance to earn some respect back, but this time it will be earned instead of built with myth.
A very amusing scene in the movie features Boy’s father apologizing to Boy about losing his temper an attacking Boy. “I get angry, a bit like the Hulk. He’s usually helping people but sometime she losing control, he’s not a bad guy. Really he’s a good guy. Think you can handle having the Incredible Hulk as a dad?” The father whose son’s myth about him is falling apart compares himself to a superhero, albeit a flawed one. Part of me wonders if this line (along with Waititi’s excellent body of work) helped convince Kevin Feige to hand Thor: Ragnarok to the director?
The humor of this film is both subtle and blatant at times, but always genuine. Boy’s daydream scenes of his father’s accomplishments pure visual humor and also incredibly shot. My favorite is a scene showing Boy’s father’s ganging fighting another gang in a West Side story style dance off of pure beauty. This quickly is cut to the father’s pathetic gang getting easily beaten up but their rivals. The cinematography of this film is gorgeous, it both shows off the natural beauty of the New Zealand landscape and also give a loving view to a rural community and its inhabitants.
I loved this film, a true coming of age story where the protagonist really grows and learns more about himself and comes out the other side changed and for the better. The cinematography is phenomenal including a wonderful shot featuring Boy’s younger brother on skates and a sparkler. I went back and watched that shot again, it’s pure magic. The cast is strong from top to bottom and the humor is both heartfelt and goofy. The message that often our parents are less than perfect people and acknowledging that and taking control of our own lives outside of their influence is a real strength. I will be watching this one again in the future.
Movies new to me watched: 4/292
Total movies watched: 4/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.