Young Boys' Films

Maybe it's my wanting to have a younger brother that makes me love to watch young boys in movies. Girls' stories are moving but I guess little boys films do that in a different way. We never look at them as macho or masculine, because We always feel that they can use our help. They're so vulnerable but they carry themselves in a such a way that Princess Sarah, Heidi, or Judie Abbott do not. Harry Potter is, for me, too powerful and unconquerable. Willy Wonka's Charlie works but this one's too good and too lucky.

The films that I like show young boys' weaknesses but at the same time, their daring, their implied desire to be bigger and stronger like a man, and circumstances they encounter somehow permit them to be. The Little Prince only partly achieves this as a character, much less so as a story. Peter Pan is too childish for me, and also too old.

I have three films here that I strongly recommend. And after you've seen them, you'd know what I'm talking about. These films succeed in creating my kind of a young boy genre, but at the same time they don't excessively conventionalize.

1) Empire of the Sun (1987) - Steven Spielberg
Based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel about a young boy's struggle to survive in Japanese-occupied Shanghai at the beginning of World War II. Worth seeing especially if you want to try watching Christian Bale without being infatuated. Unless of course you're 10 years old or there's something wrong with you.

2) Le Chiavi di Casa (2004) - Gianni Amelio
An Italian film with English subtitles (hehe). Gianni (played by Kim Rossi Stuart) meets his 16-year-old son, Paolo, a developmentally disabled boy. He takes Paolo to Berlin for a series of medical tests. They go around the city spending time and getting to know each other. When it's time to return Paolo to his mother, Gianni thinks twice. And so the story goes.

3) I Am David (2005), Paul Feig
Starring newcomer Ben Tibber as the young boy and Jim Caviezel as another Jesus Christ-like character. About the journey of a boy to find a family after he escapes from a Communist concentration camp. writes: "It is a spiritual voyage of discovery, where David slowly loses his instinctual mistrust of humanity and begins to smile, share, trust and ultimately, love."