"Boy," from New Zealand, has its charms, most of them to do with Boy, an 11-year-old pop-culture enthusiast who's obsessed with Michael Jackson and moonwalking.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Taika Waititi's journey into the heart and soul of an 11-year-old boy in New Zealand will take you back, regardless of your country.
| Original Score: 8/10
Their hopeful, honest faces outweigh the dialogue.
The children here are both remarkable, not relying on cuteness, but allowed to remain children, with the pain that brings alongside the pleasure.
| Original Score: 3/4
It's ... super-exuberant and super-affecting, thanks to the pairing of James Rolleston as the boy of the title and the filmmaker as his father.
One might predict that Boy, loosely based on the 1980s New Zealand childhood of Taika Waititi, would be funny and offbeat, but the surprise is how refreshingly original, charming and emotional it is.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Think Whale Rider meets Superfly, except mama's dead instead of Freddy.
Colorful visuals and sometimes overly broad sight gags communicate in a universal language [for] this heartwarming film infused with affection about growing up Maori.
| Original Score: 7/10
It's a lovely oddity, and one that will probably hit home for preteen audiences all over the world.
| Original Score: B
Writer-director and co-star Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark") never builds much momentum for his largely uneventful if sometimes inventive story.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Boy could have been a twee mush of cuteness and bathos but it's not, in large part because of the outstanding cast of unself-conscious Maori kids.
| Original Score: B+
A cross between The 400 Blows and Slumdog Millionaire.
The performance by Rolleston has a precocious authenticity.
The use of flipbook animation and exaggerated fantasy sequences entails a certain logic, but these devices run aground on a fairly limited sense of imagination which fails to make up for the story's essential slightness.
| Original Score: 2/4
Somehow manages both to drag on and feel too short at the same time.
Joy juxtaposed with humiliation, silliness with sadness, fantasy with reality, and none of it formulaic. The editing feels fresh, as does the film.
| Original Score: 4/5
New Zealand coming-of-age story has moments of beauty and warmth, but is ultimately too twee by half.
An alternately zany, sentimental, and remarkably insightful look at the quirks of a child's mind.
Taika Waititi has found a way to balance his offbeat sensibility with a maturing humanity.
| Original Score: 3/5
Waititi's a gifted storyteller with a generous sense of humor and a confident way with actors, with Boy a great example of his agreeably idiosyncratic vision.
| Original Score: A-