Boys and Girls

Boys and Girls is a short narrative film that won an Oscar for Best Action Short in 1983. It was produced in Toronto, Canada and is based on Alice Munro's story of the same name. It is 1940s Ontario outside of the small city, Jubilee. A young girl is desperate for attention from her father. He is a fox fur trader and seems to favour her brother, whose name is Laird. The young girl's life consists of a near-endless litany of domestic chores. She cannot go out without male accompaniment and her gender curtails her education. Her grandmother is a traditional woman and gives the girls orders that perpetuate the sexism the young girl experiences from her familial atmosphere. She tells her that girls must keep their legs together and quieten down and rigidly enforces what is for girls or not.

Her brother Laird begins to realize his privilege and, also, how his parents have higher expectations for him. In one scene, Laird climbs a ladder to the top beam, while the young girl eggs him on. When their parents arrive, she hopes that Laird will be in trouble, but instead, she is. They yell at her for not "watching her brother" and tending to him as he climbs the ladder.

The young girl develops a close relationship with her horse, Flora, and feels a sense of freedom when she is riding her. The film shows that the family only keeps horses so that they can be used in hunting or so their meat can be fed to the foxes they keep. Flora becomes sick during the winter and the father approaches her, ready to slaughter her to feed to the foxes. However, Flora tries to escape. When Flora runs towards the gate at the end of the farm, the young girl's father yells for her to close it, but instead she opens it wider and the horse escapes. The girl does not regret it.

1983 | 22 min | 6.7/10 | 0/100
Cast
Megan Follows, David Fox, Clare Coulter, Ian Heath
Director
Don McBrearty
Language
English
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Boys and Girls
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