The New Boy


In 1997, Cate Blanchett, starring in only her third major role in a film, Oscar & Lucinda opposite Ralph Fiennes, made such an impact that it would be her last shot in her homeland of Australia for some time.

The two times Oscar-winning actress has since gone on to be a huge Hollywood star, predominantly making films in the US and UK, with the likes of Charlotte Gray, The Aviator and the recent Tar.

Starring in Warwick Thornton’s latest is a sort of homecoming then, set as it is in the Australian outback.

boom reviews The New Boy
Hey penguin lady, give me my shirt back!

1940’s Australia, during the tail end of World War II, a young Aboriginal boy (Aswan Reid) is dragged unwillingly to a remote monastery, home to a number of other indigenous boys.

It’s there that Sister Eileen (Blanchett) takes him under her wing, in an attempt to bring God into his life.

For the boy, who has no name, it’s the introduction into a strange and curious world, with its quirky customs, that take some getting used to. And yet he reaches a point during his stay, where either he finds God, or God actually finds him.

boom reviews The New Boy
The Magic Mike version of Jesus Christ - The Musical was just a little too steamy.

It’s been a while since the Australian director’s last film, 2017’s Sweet Country, but his latest more than makes up for the delay.

It is beautifully shot, by Thornton himself, in what appears to be a truly remote part of the world.

Blanchett is excellent, but that’s only to be expected as she has set the bar incredibly high for herself, in a role you can see her get excited about, especially at the thought of wearing a habit throughout. What she may not have counted on however, was being overshadowed by a stunning debut by the young Reid in every scene; he may only say a handful of words for the entire film, but his screen presence is so intense, that he delivers the most beguiling performance. It’s to Blanchett’s credit, that she, as well as the other cast members, are prepared to be blown off the screen by such a remarkable young man.

He’s certainly helped by Thornton’s script that has a magical, surreal quality at times, which hints at the boys other worldly existence.

It does lose its way in the final third however, where the religious iconography is laid on pretty thickly, but it doesn’t deter from what’s gone before.

A wonderful return home for Blanchett then, who once again shines with her God-given talent.

we give this three out of five