Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Boyhood – 2014

11178476_800There are ways of ambitiously crafting a feature film that makes it stand out amongst the rest. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is an astounding documentation of an era, the notion of coming-of-age and life in general.
Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, “Boyhood” is something that we have never seen before on the big screen and probably never will for a while. There is an immense risk and burden when undertaking such a gargantuan project as this, but needless to say, Linklater has produced something truly, truly special.

In what could be described as art imitating life, or even art reflecting life, “Boyhood” tells the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his journey through life’s twists and turns, all before and throughout his early adolescence.
Between the ages of 5 and 18, Mason’s life is influenced and moulded by those around him, mostly consisting of troubled, multi-faceted individuals who have troubles of their own. Mason’s upbringing is not a straightforward one, but whose is in this day and age?
This deeply unique and definitive coming-of-age piece is both fascinating to watch unfold, but highly relatable on so many levels. It’s a rare thing that we get to witness in “Boyhood”; the audience literally get to watch individuals age right before their eyes, it is amazing to say the least!

Boyhood-Gallery-2Watching “Boyhood” reminded me a lot of “7 Up”, a series from 1964 that documented the lives of certain individuals and re-visited them on a 7-year basis.
The privilege to see the same people grow up right before our eyes was staggering. It was fascinating to see how looks, attitudes and interests changed as they grew up, and in turn, there are identical elements to be seen in “Boyhood”; although this is fictional – even though it appears so amazingly realistic.

Ellar Coltrane is only a few months younger than me, so watching Mason’s life progress was particularly special for me as a lot of things he experienced struck a chord on a personal level. It was mainly things like music, friendships and subtleties such as “Dragon Ball Z” on a tiny television screen in the morning before school that hit the hardest for me, and I absolutely loved it!
I really hope this doesn’t make Coltrane become a one-trick pony in the industry; he has definitely grown into a fine young actor and I sincerely hope we can see more of him in years to come.
Ethan Hawke gives a performance like no other as Mason’s father. He deserves an OSCAR nomination for the best supporting role and I sincerely hope he receives the recognition he deserves.
The same can be said for Patricia Arquette. Her journey is arguably the most diverse behind Mason’s, and she brings so much hurt and maturity to her character.

boyhood-movie-teenagerThis is not just a story about a boy being brought up and developing. The stories of Mason’s parents and multiple father-figures, as well as his sister are equally as interesting to watch.
Transportation literally occurs on-screen in the purest of ways and from there, the audience are taken through a time-lapse of what feels like series of short films. Sure, nothing much happens that is classified as “edge-of-your-seat”, but that’s completely unnecessary for a film such as this.
The runtime of nearly 3 hours can appear daunting to some, but these chapters of life being captured in the most organic of ways is truly beautiful to just admire and reflect upon.
You may leave the film thinking that it was simply a gimmick to appear different, but upon reflection of the film, “Boyhood” stands for so much more than a simple time lapse – it is a work of art that is definitive of a particular period in history. 

Above all, “Boyhood” was an experience that I have rarely encountered in a film. I’ve seen characters grow up on screen, but “Boyhood” does something that no prosthetics or make-up can achieve, and that is capture life in it’s most wonderful way.
Mason’s journey was particularly special for me as a fellow member of the Gen Y demographic and I would definitely recommend it to any others who haven’t seen it. But, as previously mentioned, “Boyhood” can appeal to all age brackets as it literally focuses on every cast member’s journey over these 12 years, not just Mason’s.
This is something to cherish and appreciate – congratulations Richard Linklater!

4.5/5

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2 comments on “Boyhood – 2014

  1. Sam
    December 29, 2014

    Great review and an equally fascinating, resonating and poignant film to watch from a parent’s perspective. You’ve certainly picked up a number of the subtle aspects that made this such an engrossing film, but there are plenty more which you’ve not mentioned (you have space limitations after all), such as the series of “high risk” moments that Mason encounters through his teenage years. Guns, cars and general fooling around – they had us expecting a catastrophic accident at any moment. Yet this film never resorts to such cliches. Overlaying the focus on childhood and adolescence is also a wonderfully wry observance of American life – good, bad and ugly- which in turn makes one further ponder the influences on today’s young people. Three hours flew by!

  2. Noémie
    January 3, 2015

    This movie is wonderful!!! I agree with what you said in this review. Also, it may not be the most important point but I really enjoyed that for once we can see all the details that change over 12 years: haircut, weight, wrinkles, acne…Of course most of it is real in this movie so it’s easier, but lot of effort could be made in other movies…Well except if they are all like Ethan Hawke, who didn’t change much over 12 years!
    Patricia Arquette is amazing and I feel like she should be the one nominated for the best supporting role. The entire movie is about empathy, but we’re not stuck in a story that would be overdramatic either.

    As Sam said, most of the “easy” turns and cliches are avoided and we can contemplate a whole family evolution with a lot of decency. I felf like after those 3 hours, I was not sure if I watched a movie or if I had just been witnessed of a real life story.

    Another big point in the movie: The music! The evolution is not just physical, the songs chosen are also a guide for the audience to know when and where the story goes. All the songs are known enough to understand the period of time but without using the “hits of the year” (except for Britney Spears, Lady Gaga or High School Musical but with good reasons). And for me, a movie that uses Yellow and Hate To Say I Told You So in the first 5 minutes and ends with Deep Blue already got half the points!

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