- RatedNC16 /GenreDrama
There have been a few movies where the audience have been able to watch a character truly grow up before their eyes.
Most famous of all is perhaps Antoine Doinel, a character whose life French auteur Francois Truffaut depicted for over 20 years through the course of five films.
Richard Linklater’s latest film ‘Boyhood’ takes that concept and pushes it to a whole new level.
Quietly and unbeknownst to most people who were not working on it, Linklater started filming a movie every summer for 12 years, chronicling the coming-of-age of a little boy named Mason Jr, played by Ellar Coltrane.
His sister Samantha (Linklater’s daughter Lorelei) and their separated parents Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke) serve as the only constants in this life/film.
There is no plot, no goal to chase. It’s quite simply the story of a boy growing up. Along the way, you get to see him and the people around him change over the passage of time.
It sounds almost too ordinary, yet Linklater manages to achieve an easygoing sense of hyper-realism, giving a sense of extra importance to the proceedings.
And by using time as the narrative device in this crazy-mad storytelling experiment, a deep feeling of intense intimacy wraps around you as you watch the scenes unfold.
You watch people in the process of being formed, just like life itself.
Quite remarkably, ‘Boyhood’ never really feels like a movie, bearing more similarities to a documentary with its quiet, unassuming vibe.
Is there any drama at all, you ask? You bet. In all the little things, the fleeting moments in the characters’ lives, unlike blockbuster movies which are made up of big moments.
It is a film about a broken family being healed by the effects of time. Divorce, alcoholism, bad haircuts, awkward talks about the birds and the bees, much like the snapshots that randomly surface when we try to reminisce on the past. For Mason Jr, there are Britney Spears songs and ‘Harry Potter’ book releases.
Childhood, parenthood, the nostalgia, it’s all here, making this a deeply emotional and moving piece of work.
Another remarkable achievement: ‘Boyhood’ never once feels like it would fall into the trappings of those movies with “just another gimmick”.
As the movie ends with Mason preparing to tackle adulthood, a few realisations begin to kick in: 1. The movie’s ending. 2. The next part of Mason’s life is just beginning. 3. Can this movie just go on and on, please?
This will stick with you through the 165 minutes and for days after.
Truth be told, there’s almost no worthy way to properly convey how great this landmark achievement of cinema really is. Watch it.
‘Boyhood’ is now showing in cinemas