July 17th, 2014
STARRING: ELLAR COLTRANE; PATRICIA ARQUETTE; ETHAN HAWKE; LORELEI LINKLATER
DIRECTED BY: RICHARD LINKLATER
A MOVIE GUY’S RATING: 3 ½ STARS
All the praise that other film critics have said about the film Boyhood is real. You can add this film critic into the pool of fans of the film. It is one of the most amazing cinematic accomplishments of the last 20 years. It has not received its praise because it has brand new special effects or has groundbreaking performances, but because it is a film that took 12 years to make and documents a child’s growth into a young man in just 3 hours. Director Richard Linklater has conducted his film with elegance, beauty, timely music, and a cast that grows together in a literal sense. Boyhood is a moment of cinema that cannot be duplicated.
Boyhood is the story of a young boy named Mason. He is played by Ellar Coltrane, an virtually unknown actor who started this film from the age of 6 and followed until the age of 18. Even though Linklaters film is about one young boys life, it is also about so much more. It is about the concepts of family, childhood, and just growing up in this magical world we live in. It is not only Coltrane who remains constant throughout, but also the entire cast as well. It is lead by Mason’s mother played by Patricia Arquette, his sometimes distant father played by Ethan Hawke, and his equally growing sister Samantha (Played by Director Linklater’s daughter Lorelei).
Linklater may finally have a film that will put him in the drivers seat for an Academy Award for best director. As the Texas native came onto the scene with his cult classic Slacker, he has shown a gradual incline path as one of the great American directors. Films such as Dazed and Confused or School of Rock put him on a popular path, while more indipendent films such as the Before Sunrise trilogy or Bernie made him an art house favorite. It is safe to say that this film is his masterpiece.
The plot does not pause with the passing of time. Much like Slacker each moment of Mason’s life comes and goes, its as if we the viewers are there and growing with him. Many have called this film a grown-up version of Slacker for Linklater. We see specific highlights during the years of Mason’s life starting with his child years of riding his bike around neighborhoods, looking at Victoria Secret’s catalogs, laying on the soft green grass and wondering what this thing called life is about?
A constant throughout is his family. His mother is his support and guide of all the rights and wrongs of growing up. She makes her fair share of mistakes (two alcholoic husbands) as she herself tries to figure out what it is all about. His father (Hawke) starts out as the “show up sometimes” kind of father and gradually realizes that he wasn’t ready to be a father until later in Mason and Samantha’s lives. And Samantha starts as the pesky little older sister, grows to be someone too cool to be seen with him, and then a friend to guide him as he gets to college.
Linklater does not mark the film with text of what year it is as the days go by. We see subtle objects or pop culture references that indicate what the years are. We see Mason playing with a Digimon hand held game at one point, Mason’s father putting up Obama/Biden signs, or we hear “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley to touch our senses about what years we are passing through. All the while, Mason grows bit by bit as his hair gets longer, his face gets greasier, his voice changes, and we are all witnesses to live it with him.
What more can someone say about Boyhood? On multiple viewings we will see something different. We will see the ups and downs of this boys life. The awkwardness of starting to notice love interests, the peer pressure of drinking with friends, and the different outlets of advice from adults in our lives like professors and parents are all representations of what you or I experienced growing up. We are all in a way Mason, I am just glad I was around to be able to witness his life in one beautiful 3 hour film.
3 ½ Stars!
Written by: Leo Brady