Boy & the World – A Review by Liz Casanova

boy & the world review academy nominated animated film



By: LIz Casanova 

Starring: Vinicius Garcia, Marco Aurelio Campos and Lu Horta 

Written by: Alê Abreu 

Directed by:  Alê Abreu 

Running time: 80 min 

MPAA rating: PG 

Selig Film Rating: Full Price 

Looking for a diverse Academy Award-nominated film? The animated Brazilian masterpiece Boy & the World is playing at select theaters in the US. Storyteller and artist Alê Abreu presents a visual feast beyond simple imagination.  

Menino is a young boy unable to understand the dark side of the world. He makes it his mission to find his Pai (father). The journey begins in the cotton fields, through the colorful streets during Carnival and in the grungy city nestled in the mountains. He is exposed to a potpourri of characters and situations that his young mind tries to piece together. To make some kind of sense of the world so foreign is as challenging as locating his father. 

The juxtaposition of colorful animation and music against the not so subtle theme of globalization is painful and brilliant. In one scene there is the joy of everyday life that is followed by a bleak truth of a corrupt society, pollution and poverty.  

The dialogue is minimal, and the music is as vibrant as the imagery. But the story is pushed along by Abreu's unique storytelling. It is a non-linear tapestry that often feels like child's interpretation of falling into a wormhole. It may seem like a primitive way of constructing a story, but the allegorical insertions of very grown up topics is as masterful as the work of another famous artist, Dr Seuss.  

Independent animated films like Boy & the World have to play against big studio heavy hitters Pixar and DreamWorks. They receive a fraction of screen time and publicity. But these films are no less significant. Boy & the World is an unforgettable piece of art with substance and heart. See it in the theater before it is gone. 

Now playing at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas and Plano and other select cities.  

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