Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. Written by IMDb / IFC Films
August 15, 2014
What do you remember most from growing up? Optimists tend to paint over the good old days with a surreal happy Technicolor. Where as pessimists see things clouded in regret and misfortune. Only the truly exceptional can remain unbiased in the eyes of the past and tell it as it was.
Richard Linklater is that exceptional.
I have been a long standing fan of Richard Linklater. In Slacker (1991), you feel like a fly on the wall taking in conversations amongst the colorful characters that help keep Austin Texas weird. If you haven’t seen Slacker it is worth a look. Planted firmly in my all time top 10 list is Dazed and Confused (1993). I love it because it truly feels like being a teenager; driving around, listening to music, looking for women and beer. The plot consists of little more than that. Does Randy Floyd play quarter back that season, does he not? I think few people watching could care. Its all about the experience and the conversations. My high school scene happened 20 years after Dazed was set, but the heart and soul of it all rang true to me. Watching Dazed is like the character Wooderson reliving old glory days on the football field. Alright, alright, alright.
In the film Boyhood, Richard Linklater takes us on a similar nostalgic journey. Only as with good wine this narrative had time to age for perfection. Shot over the span of 12 years, Boyhood follows its protagonist Mason, from age 5 to 18. Mason grows and matures along with the actor portraying him, and in no way less real. Richard Linklater uses his power of unbiased childhood recollection and weaves a brilliant narrative with highs, lows and moments of reflection. Never once does Linklater try to force a laugh, push you to cry or artificially create a Disney-esq moment. He simply lets life happen as it does. Linklater captures life, specific to being a boy in Texas. The culture of guns, religion, football, and politics are all accurately touched on.
Richard Linklater tapped long time friend and go-to actor Ethan Hawk in the Roll as Mason’s father. Hawk plays the role as the reluctant dad with understated brilliance. Patricia Arquet as the mother warrants an Oscar nod more than any other in this film. Working to provide the best life for her children, while doomed to carry them along the rocky road of her own personal struggles. Any one else recognize the liquor store clerk from Dazed reprise his role? Or recognize Mason Sr.’s second wife as the cute blonde girl from Wes Anderson’s Bottlerocket?
With this film Linklater takes his place amongst the great Texas born film makers, Robert Rodriguez and Wes Anderson. Each iconic and with a true grasp of their vision, making them true auteurs in the world of directing.
With the amount of time and planning that Boyhood took it will be hard to recreate this level of movie magic on his next film. None the less, I wait in anticipation for the next Linklater film.
Simply put, BoyHood touches your soul and will be one of the best movies you’ll ever see.
I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of a movie that follows the same actor as he gets older. What makes that unique when compared to watching the kids of Harry Potter or Zach Morris grow up on the big or little screen? It’s cool the director stuck to his plans over a 12 year period … but really … is it worth the hype?
Ellar Coltrane’s character Mason was an outstanding young man to follow throughout the movie. There is a great power to seeing a kid grow up on the screen without the need for specialized make-up, CGI or casting similar-looking actors. And while it’s fascinating to see Mason – and the other characters – naturally age before our eyes, the storyline is the engaging glue. You feel the hurt, the happiness, the awkwardness, the rage, the hope of life over 12 years. This is a genius and genuine movie that will find it’s way into your life days, weeks and I’m sure years to come.
While the movie is technically long it doesn’t feel like 165 minutes (you’ll soon learn my distain for movies that can’t seem to master the art of editing). In fact, you’ll wish this a franchise for us to follow Mason for the next 40 years. Go see it, buy it, talk about it … this is why we love going to the movies.
MATT’S REVIEW I cannot honestly remember when I first watched Silence of the Lambs. With the movie and dialogue are so vividly etched in my collective celluloid conscience. I knew the lines before I even saw the movie, thanks to the reference Jim Carrey makes to it in Dumb and Dumber (1994). “With some Fava […]
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It's said often between couples, families and friends ... it's "your turn to pick". With so many great (and frankly horrible) movies out there, we aim to help you make the picking a bit easier. Reviews will cover honest male and female perspectives from our various interests covering the classics to new releases. Learn more about Matt and Jaclyn to see how we may not agree on every movie, but do agree on our love of exploring the wide range of movies out there. Have a movie you would like us to review, please submit it here!
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