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New Zealand · 2010
1h 27m
Director Taika Waititi
Starring James Rolleston, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititi, Moerangi Tihore
Genre Drama, Comedy

In 1984 Waihau Bay, New Zealand, eleven year old, Boy, lives on a farm with his gran, a goat, and his younger brother. Shortly after Gran leaves for a week, Boy's father, Alamein, appears out of the blue. Having imagined a heroic version of his father during his absence, Boy comes face to face with the real version, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years before.

Stream Boy

What are people saying?

Marina Dalarossa Profile picture for Marina Dalarossa

In his second film, Waititi explores topics that he revisits in later works—family, childhood, the lives of misfits—in low-budget, quirky simplicity. Moving and funny in the matter-of-fact way of children, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Cyrus Berger Profile picture for Cyrus Berger

This movie is very moving while being simple and consistently funny. Taika Waititi has a great way of balancing pretty silly comedy with genuine, sincere emotion. It's a short and straightforward, which helps the viewer focus on the characters' feelings and growth.

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by

This unpretentious comic tale of a youngster's growing relationship with a long-absent father has a surprising rhythmic genius: joy juxtaposed with humiliation, silliness with sadness, fantasy with reality, and none of it formulaic. The editing feels fresh, as does the film.


Slant Magazine by Andrew Schenker

Less concerned with rendering the specifics of its setting (a small Maori town on the New Zealand coast) than in calling on bouts of whimsy and superficial cultural signifiers to approximate the headspace of its central characters.


Time Out by Eric Hynes

Boy needn't be pop-culturally fluent to be relatable; believable human characterizations would have sufficed.


Los Angeles Times by Gary Goldstein

Writer-director and co-star Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark") never builds much momentum for his largely uneventful if sometimes inventive story.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

Mr. Waititi, a popular standup comic in New Zealand, is wonderfully droll and entertaining in this acting role, which isn't all that far, geography and culture notwithstanding, from Steve Zahn at his stoner best.


New York Post by Kyle Smith

This charming kid's-eye movie, full of comical and vivid detail about the lives of these cheerful children, has the loose, lanky feel of a memoir and of French New Wave films.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

The abundant charm of first-time actor James Rolleston, playing the 11-year-old of the title in Boy, doesn't quite save the aimless, nostalgia-woozy second feature from Taika Waititi (2007's Eagle vs. Shark).


The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

In its third act, this funny, bittersweet, tonally assured coming-of-age story grows unexpectedly poignant as Rolleston comes to realize he doesn't need a super-cool buddy or co-conspirator in his misadventures. He needs a father, and Waititi's stunted man-child is fatally unsuited and unqualified for that role.

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