Richard Linklater's Boyhood will take you places you've been before, places you're happy to revisit, and places you'd gladly forget. In doing so, this brilliant portrait of a complex family (aren't they all complex?) slices a piece of life like few titles before it, and should be mandatory viewing for film buffs big and small.
It takes a movie like Boyhood to remind you why you watch movies in the first place. The truth, of course, is that we watch movies for many different reasons. It's why we can enjoy a fantasy fiction as much as a documentary. At least for me, watching movies is about reflecting on life - the joy, pain, clarity, confusion, hope, etc. You take your life experience and apply it to what you see on the screen. You relate where you can, marvel where you can't, and fill in the gaps between.
In Boyhood, there's no choice but to relate. Whether or not your life in any way mirrors our players on the screen, there's a raw authenticity, a sincerity that takes your breath away and glues you to the screen. Boyhood is life - the good, the bad, and the ugly - rolled up into one tight package, beautifully filmed and masterfully acted, a family portrait that stays with you long after the first watch.
And perhaps most incredible of all - Boyhood was a project 12 years in the making. To watch the cast literally grow up before your eyes is something not seen before in fiction filmmaking. For something similarly fascinating but documentary style, check out the mind-bending "UP" Series.
We were lucky enough to receive an early Blu-ray copy of Boyhood from Paramount Pictures. In the age of Netflix and instant gratification streaming video, the hallowed Blu-ray purchase is reserved strictly for the collectibles - the ones you tell your friends about, or even your kids one day.
Boyhood, dear Pilots, belongs firmly in that category.
For those who haven't checked it out, I'm leaving out the synopsis. It's not an easy film to boil into a paragraph or two anyway. Go in with no expectations and a willingness to be swept away. But be prepared to have your past called back, a journey of sorts through the 1990's, 2000's, and the 2010's. Just writing that makes me feel old.