A film about contentment, about values, about innocence, about living in the moment.
A young boy finds a guitar and his frail abuela (grandmother) asks him to write her a song.
If your idea of a great night at the movies does not include a gentle and engaging tale of contentment and innocence, the cinematography and particularly colour palette of A Boy Called Sailboat is so outstanding that the production alone should satisfy the celluloid lusts of most movie lovers.
A Boy Called Sailboat is a film totally comfortable with itself. It is a film that feels no obligation to do more than ‘to be’, a trait shared by the main protagonists and by the story itself. Collectively they make a life less aspirational something to aspire to. Or not.
We meet various well crafted characters that productions lacking the confidence of of A Boy Called Sailboat would be unable to resist the urge to over-bake. But here they get it right. I want to know more about the car salesman, I want to know the backstory of the boy who cannot blink, but ultimately I am pleased they left it where they did, everybody living in the now, with no compulsion to fill in any gaps.
Set in anonymous bordersville U.S.A., a 4d cinema viewing would be ramping the thermostat up to max. Heat shimmers off the screen which is where an Ibiza summer night will do nicely for that authentic experience. I could imagine those of our fellow anglo-saxons who have not embraced a life in the sun would find the pace a little too slow. But for those that have, a viewing on a balmy night with a surround sound chorus of crickets and an old school fan wafting a near sufficient tease of air across you and yours would be the perfect way to watch. And by saying you and yours, it is a film that does totally qualify as family, but you do not need a child to rationalise watching it.
This is not a film to accept a low quality resolution. If you cannot stream at your TV’s maximum capability, download first to watch it in its glory, you will be pleased you did.
There is another aspect of the film that seems to be frustrating some viewers, even some professional critics. But if you can’t see why that device is necessary you are missing the magic. Some of those critics prove they just don’t get it, by mentioning ‘it’ in their reviews. I won’t as it would be a spoiler.
In this respect, together with the film’s pace, A Boy Called Sailboat will be a particular pleasure to those living in latin countries. You will understand that not every question needs to be answered, not every process needs to be optimised, not every moment needs to be efficient. You will get that in ways an uptight commuter on a daily nine-to-five shuffle simply will not.
A Boy Called Sailboat may make you question the material things you value and desire. It may cause a pang of guilt at whatever recent first world problems have made you curse your fortune. But if it does either you will not be able to say it set out with that agenda. If A Boy Called Sailboat has any agenda at all it is incredibly well hidden. It feels like a film that has been made simply to tell a beautiful story, and it achieves that with great but understated style.
Directed By: Cameron Nugent
Written By: Cameron Nugent
Released: Feb 5, 2019
Runtime: 92 minutes
Language: English, with some passages in Spanish subtitled to English