Ever felt like an outcast? Have you ever been shunned by everyone in your society? Have you ever felt as if you don’t belong anywhere? Ricky Baker, in Hunt For The Wilderpeople, has. Directed by Taika Waititi and released in 2016, this movie addresses relationships, and how vital it is to have a sense of belonging. Taika Waititi presents relationships in this film by illustrating how Ricky Baker develops with the multitude of relationships he has, both useful and not useful. He conveys that to be able to feel as if you belong is just as crucial, arguably more, as many materialistic things, such as money, and further emphasises that not all relationships are enjoyable.
Ricky and Hec - Ricky's adoptive father - have been together most of the time. In fact, Hec has almost a parallel role to the protagonist in this story. At first, they keep on bickering, but as time goes on, they begin to realise how well they can collaborate, and how much they need each other - the latter was felt especially (spoiler alert) after Aunty Bella’s death. The two gained a lot from each other's company, particularly as they were traversing the bush. During this time, they really got to understand each other because of their proximity to each other. Ricky and Hec learn a lot from each other during this period of time, such as the fact that Hec is illiterate. Ricky tries to teach Hec haiku, and by the end, Hec recites a very meaningful Haiku to Ricky. When Hec fractures his foot, Ricky does his best to assist him, getting their food and doing most of the necessary jobs. But it wasn’t only Hec who gains from this long lasting relationship - Hec teaches Ricky how to survive in the wild and harsh bush - an action that saves Ricky’s life.
Bella is Hec’s wife. When Ricky first arrives at his new home, Bella is the first person who had ever been hospitable towards him, and Ricky is overcome by Bella’s friendliness as he had been used to being shunted around his whole life. Ricky and Bella share some very symbolic moments with each other, such as when she puts a hot water bottle into his bed, or when she gives him the best birthday ever, showing her love for him. Bella is in Ricky’s life for a depressingly short amount of time, but she manages to make a big impact on Ricky’s life. She helps him open up and socialise by treating him as her very own son. For the first time in his life, he had someone to talk to, he had someone who didn’t treat him like an outcast - he had someone to love. After her unexpected death, Ricky carries her ashes around with him as he traverses the bush - which shows that Aunty Bella had earned herself a massive place in Ricky’s heart. Ricky gains many social skills because of Bella and, most importantly, he realises what it is like to fit in.
The movie displays relationships by demonstrating how Ricky changes under the influence of his many relationships. Hec and Bella together manage to change and even save Ricky's life. The movie shows us how much Ricky learnt from them - how crucial they were in his life. He indicates that before Ricky makes any relationships with anyone, he is a very despondent, disagreeable and unsociable character. But, as he arrives with Uncle Hec and Aunty Bella, he begins to understand how much he had been missing out on. This transforms his life forever, as he then begins to see so much more meaning in life. Instead of being the silent, morose, fat Maori boy that he was before, he suddenly becomes a friendly, helpful and fat Maori boy - a drastic change from the past. These two relationships were possibly the two most vital in his life, and they were without a doubt the two from whom he gained the most from. To conclude, strong relationships are vital for leading a contented, happy life, whether you have friends, family, or something more.
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