Boyhood explores the life of a boy as ages from 5 to 18 years old. This film is a cinematic achievement by director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise). He began shooting the film in summer of 2002 and finished in the fall of 2013. You watch all the characters, most importantly the young boy Mason Jr. played by Ellar Coltrane, grow before your eyes. It's quite astonishing how this was pulled off as I'm not sure if this was actually done before in narrative format. Boyhood is a film to remember and it's one of the best films this year.
It hard to believe that you are seeing the same kids grow before your eyes. The story is primarily focused on Mason Jr. but his family plays a major role as well. Its cool to see his sister, Samantha played by the directors daughter Lorelei Linklater, grow up also,. Watching the two of them fight with each other reminded me of my relationship with my sister at a young age. Nostalgia had set in because it was fun to see the children like the same things I was interested in when I was younger like Harry Potter and Halo 2. Linklater wrote the film so as it progresses the viewer could get a sense of the approximate year it was in. I never felt lost since we only get a certain amount of time with each age. There were great transition between the different stages in life. A particular scene was when Mason went up for bed and the next scene was him walking downstairs. He just woke up and it was clear that he was older since we last saw him.
There was not a specific storyline featured besides all the hardships and experiences that Mason and his family endured. The way Linklater structured the script was cool because instead of showing specific events in this child’s life, he showed the things that Mason would have remembered. For example, instead of showing Mason graduating high school, Linklater wrote a scene where Mason is driving home with his friend in the car both dressed in their gowns. Linklater believed that someone wouldn’t remember the graduation but they would the car ride home with their friends. I just thought that was cool and there are other moments like that in the film.
Masons father is played by Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise, The Purge) and his mother is played by Patricia Arquette (Medium, Little Nicky). I thought they were great and were believable as parents. My favorite scenes were the conversations between Mason Jr and his father. It felt real and I feel like a lot of people can relate to them. I didn’t care much for the mother because of her poor choices but it was all for the good of her children. There was a great supporting cast that entered into this family’s life. I felt like as Coltrane grew into a teenager, his acting skills just weren’t as good anymore due to the actors that surrounded him in his later years. They just seemed more professional and outperformed him. I enjoyed watching him as a child and seeing him grow.
Boyhood is just one of those movies that everyone should see at least once because it’s not something you see everyday. There is a long run time of 2hr and 45min but it’s definitely worth watching. I was worried that this film was going to get dark in tone but I’m glad it didn’t. This is a film that will be talked about for a very long time and I’m sure it will be a frontrunner at the Academy Awards this year.
5/5 - Masterpiece