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This is an early film by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople; What we Do in the Shadows; JoJo Rabbit) centers Boy, a young boy of about 12 or 13 years. He lives with his younger brother Rocky and a variety of young cousins. He serves as the male caretaker of his bother and cousins while their nan is away. Boy idolizes his father, who he hasn’t seen in 7 years since his father went to prison, and Michael Jackson. When his father suddenly shows up, he is forced to reconcile his worship of an idealized father with the one that is now living with them. Watitit’s creative genius is evident here, even if it isn’t as fully developed as in his later films. He has a way of making a wacky story deeply personal, engaging, and emotionally resonant. As Boy’s excitement about his Dad wanes, we see him maturing and taking a deeper interest in his family and friends. It is a wonderful and different kind of coming of age story. The acting is really good, especially by the two kids who play Roy and Rocky (and Waititi is crazy as the father). Big thumbs up from me. (2010; 4 Stars)

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