I actually went to the theatre for this one! And let me tell you – it was SO worth it. Following the development of a young family, and a boy growing up from the ripe ages of 5 to 18 – this film was brilliant. Prior to watching, I had heard of this film, and knew that it had taken 12 years to film the entire thing. I also knew not to expect something like Avatar, which took a similar amount of time to complete. Nonetheless, I was VERY excited whilst walking into the auditorium.
Synopsis (IMDB): The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18.
Now, this lovely synopsis provided by IMDB seems quite vague yes? Well, in all honesty – it is the perfect description of the film. You don’t need any more than that. I think the best thing about this was that while some dramatic things happened in the story, it was all very believable. It wasn’t like a typical Hollywood-style, commercialized film. We, as the audience, were literally just exposed to the mundane lives of the characters. Now you’re probably thinking, watching some regular family’s day-to-day activities for a whopping 165 minutes has to be a dull affair. However, that was not the case. I did not find myself bored, or falling asleep at any point throughout this movie. To emphasize this more, I also have to point out that we went to the 10:20pm showing of this film. We didn’t get out of the theatre until like 1:30… yep…
One of my favourite things, as you may or may not have gotten from my previous reviews, is the subtle moments within films. That was literally this entire thing. Subtle comments were embedded within the screenplay, and constantly passed between the main characters. This added a spark of humour that wasn’t obvious, but was just there. I found myself giggling in my seat at least once every 2 minutes. The film also ended in such an awkward manner, that only made it seem so much more real.
The actors in this were phenomenal. Ellar Coltrane as the son of the family, Mason, was great at portraying the young, bullied, overlooked 5 year old. It was very interesting, because as the film progressed, he grew into this lanky, very awkward boy, then young man. I don’t know if it was him acting as very awkward, or if it is just Coltrane himself, but it was hilarious watching him and his strange mannerisms. Lorelei Linkater, as his sister Samantha, also grew into this precious awkwardness as a teenager. I was a little hesitant with her, seeing as she is the daughter of the director, Richard Linklater, but she really is a cute little actress. Starting out as a child diva, constantly tantalizing her brother, she seemed very natural with her character. Growing older, she became quieter, capturing the unsureness and instability that all teenage girls feel. Ethan Hawke as the father of the family was also great. He very successfully portrayed the character of the loving, fun dad. While the children were still young, it was evident that the energy level in his performance greatly affected the kids, resultantly bringing up their enthusiasm in their own roles. Lastly, I want to comment on Patricia Arquette as the mother of the family. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen her in anything onscreen since Holes in 2003. I don’t know why, because she wasn’t necessarily a central character in the 2003 film, but it was very jolting for me to see her as a character other than Kissin’ Kate Barlow. She just has such a memorable voice and face that can’t get out of your head, and I guess that’s why, after all these years, I still relate her to her 2003 role. While it took me awhile to get used to the fact that she was not Kissin’ Kate however, I gradually became comfortable with her as “Mom”, and realized she was doing a great job at it. She was successful in showing the usually hidden vulnerabilities that mom’s have – while usually we just think of mom’s as the ultimate super woman, possible of anything, and always ready to help and comfort those who ask for it – not as a real human being, with feelings and problems of their own.
Yeah this was great. Another feature of this film that I really enjoyed was that while the main family grew up, so did all the supporting characters around them. I have no idea how many times I gasped out loud in the theatre, poking my friends beside me and asking if they recognized Mason’s friend from childhood, or that pipe-fixer guy in that one scene 5 years ago, etc.
This movie is a long one, but definitely not a waste of time. SO much better than casting different actors for different ages. Go watch it.
just my rating: ★★★★★
Other reviews on Boyhood:
Babyhood – BOYHOOD opens up the realm of possibilities…
Jonah Jeng – Review: Boyhood
Sidewalk Interests – Boyhood