Title – Boyhood (2014)
Director – Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused)
Cast – Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater
Plot – Filmed for real over a 12 year period, Boyhood follows the growing up of Mason (Coltrane) and his life with his sister Samantha (Linklater), struggling mother (Arquette) and his biological father (Hawke).
“I just feel like there are so many things that I could be doing and probably want to be doing that I’m just not”
Review by Eddie on 14/11/2014
Boyhood is most certainly a unique and utterly ambitious piece of filmmaking by the ever interesting and increasingly good Richard Linklater, a movie 12 years in the making and an undertaking that so easily could’ve gone totally wrong. That Boyhood is the quality film it has ended up being is a testament to the skill Linklater possess behind the camera and the ability his actors in the form of Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke possess in front of camera but Boyhood isn’t immune to lacklustre filmmaking and as much as it succeeds as a tale of growing up that runs near 3 hours in length, it also fails to engage completely as an affecting whole.
Boyhood suffers at times from a lack of clear direction (perhaps this is the point I’m not entirely sure) and as our protagonist Ellar Coltrane as Mason grows up before our very eyes it becomes increasingly clear that as a character Mason is just not overly appealing and as an actor Coltrane fails to engage as the years draw on. Instead of developing into an actor, he regresses into a shell of a human and in doing so stops Boyhood from reaching outright classic status as a feature film and it’s a shame Linklater couldn’t of made Mason into a more appealing human being. There are real joys to be found early on in Boyhood and the intimate moments Linklater captures between Mason and his family are at times overwhelmingly affective and I’m sure that all who watch Boyhood will be able to relate to moments presented here, in that it will surely spike memories of our own childhood and that is where Boyhood comes into its own, despite Coltrane’s limitations as an anchoring actor.
With the uniqueness of its set up, Boyhood allows Linklater to create an ode to growing up in a way we’ve not really ever been privy to before in a movie made way. It’s at first a strange and off putting experience as a viewer, but before long you feel like nothing more than a fly on the wall to Mason’s journey of becoming an adult and the moments within his life that shape who he is to become. While Arquette’s struggling mother no doubt shapes Mason’s life the most, it is Hawke that becomes that standout character of Boyhood with his long time growing up father and his interactions with Mason both as a young child and later on as a teenager inspiring the most emotion in Boyhood’s un-driven narrative.
A lovingly crafted film with beautiful work in all facets by Linklater and a feature in a world of its own, it would be hard to not enjoy Boyhood but equally as hard to wholly love for many viewers as not everyone here or everything that happens is actually all that enjoyable and the story could’ve done with more engaging elements. A staggering achievement to keep on track for the years it took to film and a great ode to the transformation of our early life, Boyhood is a must see movie, just don’t expect to witness that downright classic many have unjustly labelled it to be.
4 alcoholic partners out of 5