Movie Review: Boyhood.
Directed By: Richard Linklater.
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater.
The life of Mason, all the way from ages 5 to 18. We see him go through all different stages of childhood, his teenage years and eventually going into the adult world.
In 2002, Richard Linklater created the story of Mason and his family and that story was filmed each year for twelve years. There is no exaggeration when I say this is a once in a lifetime type of movie. He shot the story in real time, each year getting the cast back together who were a little bit older and they looked a little bit different and film more scenes from Mason's life as he grows up. The film was shot in a total of around 40 days....but those days were spread over twelve years.
We see Mason (Ellar Coltrane) go from a first grader all the way until he leaves home to go to college and its all packed into a run time of 2hrs 46 mins.
There has never been anything quite like Boyhood. It's almost like a documentary because it feels completely real. The transformation of these people over the years is incredible to watch. Mason changes as a person throughout these twelve years and because it keeps the same cast throughout, it feels authentic, like you're watching real people go through these happy, sad, heartbreaking and uplifting situations.
Nothing particularly exciting ever happens in Boyhood and that's why I love it. The family go through some very hard times but they aren't unlike what most families experience in the real world.
I recommend this film mainly to teenagers because seeing some of the technology and movies and video games that Mason talks about and experiences are what teenagers will have grown up with when they were younger and personally the scenes in the first half of the film really hit me with nostalgia.
There are no title cards that appear on screen whenever a year has gone by but its usually noticeable by the characters appearance. Richard Linklater throws in references to technology and movies as a way to reference the time that those scenes are set in. In one scene, Mason and his friends are talking about Star Wars Episode 3 so I immediately clicked on "Oh....this is 2005" so at no point does the film get confusing or lost in time.
Ellar Coltrane does a fine job in the lead role but as he grew up, it was obvious that he had no other acting experience because his line delivery was always the same and I can't really blame the actor for that because this is all the acting work he's had. The same goes for Lorelei Linklater who plays his sister, she is actually the directors daughter and it's also obvious that she hasn't had any other acting work because her line delivery is always the same as well.
The characters I found most interesting were the mother and father played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke who steal the show. Their characters actually undergo a lot more character development than Mason. They go through different marriages, different families and each character goes in directions that I never saw coming.
Every character is flawed and real, but as an audience member I couldn't help but be invested in almost every one of them because it's almost as if you are living with this family for twelve years.
Different characters that Mason meets throughout his life teach him different lessons, from his father, to a teacher to his manager at his first job. Those are the types of people that teach us different lessons in life and we never really notice.
There was a way that this movie could have fallen into so many classic movie cliches but Linklater always dodges them by doing something completely unexpected with his characters so the journey never got boring.
While you're watching Boyhood, it may not seem very special or important because nothing drastic really happens but when that final scene comes around, you truly understand how special this film is. Something like this has never been done before. The message of the film is all about specific moments just being milestones in life and that message could not have been conveyed any better.
At no point does this movie feel like a movie. The writing feels natural and characters interact with each other naturally and I could definitely see Linklater getting some awards recognition for his work here.
I can really see how average film goers might not enjoy this film as much because its the subtle things in the movie that stand out and because nothing big ever happens, average film goers may get a bit bored. If you appreciate film production I can not recommend this film highly enough.
This is a very long movie, but if I had the decision on whether to watch this or Transformers 4 again....I'd go with Boyhood. I can't imagine the replay value for this movie is great unless you really want to study it, and this would be a great movie to examine but this in terms of viewing is also a once in a lifetime type of film.
This film is a piece of simple elegance. Its transitions to each year are smooth and almost unnoticeable at times. It details the small moments from childhood to the big moments that shape your life to everything almost insignificant in the middle of all that. One minute Mason is going to the premiere of the latest Harry Potter book in full costume with his friends, and then a few scenes later he's got some facial hair, earrings and questioning why everyone is addicted to their phones.
The amount of things that could have gone wrong with this film is almost unimaginable but fortunately the filmmakers and for the audience, the movie comes together almost perfectly.
Boyhood is a unique and incredible piece of film making that I will remember for the rest of my life and I highly recommend you head out to see it. I'm giving Boyhood an A+.
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