Boyhood – 2014
There 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!
Watching “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.
This 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!