/slash 2017 – Day 9: Boys in the Trees

Boys in the Trees
Australia 2016
Written by Nicholas Verso
Directed by Nicholas Verso
Watched on 29.09.2017

Don’t get fooled by that godawful poster that’s reminiscent of the “Twilight”-movies. While there is a supernatural aspect to it, “Boys in the Trees” couldn’t be further away from those. This is a much more serious story that’s not about romance (albeit such a one is included too) but rather about growing up. How we sometimes – especially in the troubled teenager-years, with all the social pressures and insecurities – are in danger of losing ourselves. Of becoming something different from who we are, let alone want to be. It’s about this time of transition, where part of us still clings to (and starts to bemoan the loss of) the child that we were, while we are about to figure out the man/woman we’re about to become. This time where we finish school and are about to face the great big unknown that is life – and our view is equally directed to the past as it is to the future. Mostly, though, it’s about friendship. How we sometimes lose the people who once were most important for us, and why this happens. I also really loved the analogy of teenage boys being like werewolves, following the leader of the pack, and trying everything to be part of a larger group instead of being left out and standing alone on the sidelines. And how we sometimes betray our closest friends to reach this goal. Still, no one is demonized here; even the main bully is allowed to show his vulnerable, human side towards the end.

All this grounded stuff is further enhanced by a couple of scary stories that are well thought out, beautifully told, very well incorporated into the film, and which also say something about the world we live in. The acting is great – I was especially impressed by lead actor Toby Wallace – and Nicholas Verso’s direction is flawless, enriching his own story with a couple of beautiful, haunting images. It is a tad too long, though – especially at the beginning, and towards the end. Also, for whatever reason, I had a hard time finding my way into the movie. A couple of things felt rather random to me. And the big “twist” doesn’t really work as such at all, since it’s so painfully obvious from very early on. Mostly, though, “Boys in the Trees” was a very enjoyable and (especially near the end) also quite touching story about friendship, and the pains of growing up. Definitely recommended!


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