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October 2, 2014

Boyhood Poster

Mason Sr.: Life doesn’t give you bumpers.

A journey is a tale of adventure which leads to discovery.  Discovery leads to knowledge which leads to success.  Richard Linklater’s adventure for the past twelve years has been gathering a group of actors up once a year to film a few scenes for a movie that he’d been writing as the years went on.  Linklater’s discovery came from a young child with no prior acting experience: Ellar Coltrane, while his knowledge stems from prior filming experience and the success is how universally loved Boyhood is.  This is a love letter to cinema and an incredibly satisfying experience.

Boyhood begins in 2002 with six-year-old Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and follows his life up until 2013, when he attends college.  The joy of watching this is that we see this little boy growing up right before our eyes and observe some very distinct changes in his physique and personality.  The film begins with Mason and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) living in Texas with their single mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) in a townhouse.  We also follow Mason’s father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) who frequently visits his children.  Much happens over Mason’s transformation from childhood to adulthood, including remarriages, divorces, abuse, sex and drugs. 

For someone who has lived his childhood through the 90s and early 00s, Boyhood hit home on a couple of levels.  For starters, there are several pop culture references from each year the film takes place including Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em playing in the background in 2007 and mention of The Dark Knight in 2008.  Additionally, there are shots of old Mac computers that has a nostalgic feeling to it.  It’s these little details that made the boy in me feel connected to the film.  The script explores several different ways of life that took place during these times with dexterity and precision. 

Some moments reminded me of those in Dazed & Confused, given that they both had the same director, took place in Texas and are coming-of-age movies.  This is a beautifully shot and choreographed film that gives off an indie vibe, but on a larger scale than Linklater’s other titles.  The whole film moves along smoothly and it never feels like a gimmick when it cuts to the later years in Mason’s life.  It all feels natural.

Newcomer Ellar Coltrane does a damn good job in his role.  Coltrane gets to channel multiple emotions throughout that shows his wide acting range.  Even from a young age you can see how talented this guy is.  What’s engrossing is that as the years went by, Coltrane’s acting got better and it never seemed out of place.  After the movie, I felt like I’ve known Mason for years, even though I just saw him on a screen for three hours.

The rest of the acting ensemble do well with what they’re given.  Patricia Arquette in particular gives a demanding performance.  She arguably goes through the most turmoil throughout and it definitely shows as her choices seem to always backfire.  Ethan Hawke, a frequent collaborator with Linklater, shines in his role in a fun, albeit limited performance.  Lorelei Linklater (daughter of Richard) also does well in her first major role as Mason’s older sister.  

Boyhood has quite a solid script with tons of interesting dialogues throughout.  The interactions between Mason and his father were the most touching and lighter moments in the film.  There’s one scene in particular where Mason Sr. gives his son a CD of the Black Album by The Beatles and gives a speech on how it feels to pass on something influential onto your child.  In real life, Ethan Hawke actually gave that exact gift to his daughter, which is what the scene is based off of.

So authentic, so real, and just so beautiful. Boyhood is an extremely refreshing take on film and the way a story is told.

Boyhood: 4.5 out of 5

Boyhood Poster

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2014 10:46 am

    I loved this movie too! There’s never been anything like it, and probably never will be again.

  2. October 5, 2014 1:53 am

    Howdy! I know this is somewhat off-topic however I needed to ask.

    Does running a well-established blog such as yours take a massive amount work?

    I’m brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal
    daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for
    new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

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