The Brazilian animated movie “Boy & the World,” written and directed with great delicacy by Alê Abreu, is a wonderment, even though I am a bit hard-pressed to describe what actually happens in it.
The film follows a little boy in his quest to reunite his family, but the imagery, rendered mostly with pencil, crayon, and pastels, constantly morphs into squiggly renderings of forests, favelas, urban decay, puffball clouds, trains that look like centipedes, Rio-style street carnivals, and much else. In order to drive home his eco-message, Abreu also works in live-action footage of city pollution and rainforest desecrations – a mistake, I think, because its literal-mindedness cancels out the film’s lyricism. But only momentarily. It’s lovely, child’s-eye fantasia. Grade: B+ (Rated PG for thematic material and images.)