UK Release: July 11th 2014
Arguably the most interesting piece of cinema to come out this year is ‘BOYHOOD’, Richard Linklater almost life work, which seems to be a natural progression from his ‘Sunrise/Sunset’ trilogy. Shot every year over 12 years, this show life through the eyes of a broken family of the Evans. You have the son of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette), daughter Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and father Mason (Ethan Hawke). What you get here is characters who grow up together and isn’t just a story about a boy growing up as the title surggested.*
Straight away is clear the level of commitment and passion Linklater has built here. The level of story continuity, the passion to do this with the other pictures he has made at the same time, and how he was able to keep the same actors over this period of time, and still be able to insure the picture so it could be made over seven years is an incredible professional and practional achievement for all involved. With these results you get what is essentially a time laps study. Something like a documentary into to dissimilar to Michael Aspell’s ‘Up’ series.
The recurring theme of ‘Boyhood’ is time, and how it affects use on all sorts of different levels. Instead of having a coming-on-age story which the marketing might suggest, you get a film about age going too (like a candle on a birthday cake). It’s more an achievement of life. And this is the idea of the film. In a way you could very much continue going on to tell stories with how this film has had it story constructed. It a very undramatic, other than the alcoholic second husband (Arquette’s character does seem to get married a lot) and the ‘Harry Potter’, baseball and camping trips are slow to unite, however like strings of moments lived through in a perpetually vanishing present. The end does leave in a place where how quickly life is whipping past, that there is ways of holding onto time after is passes (ie: photography).
I do like how the young character grows in the film as well. Both Coltrane and Linklater (Richard’s actual daughter) come from the sidelines of the earlier parts of the film, to lead actors, which is a growing transformation in itself. It does coming jarring a little bit that Coltrane seems to ‘act’ more, especially when it becomes based in the present and some of the naturalism is gone. And I didn’t like who he became, however there is an argument that that is real life in itself. But for 95% of time it does feel natural. One scene sees Mason using his natural good will of taking a shotgun from adopted Conservative Christian grandparents. I also like how you don’t marvel at logistics when viewing this film with how they put it together, its instead all about the spontaneously acting characters.
While the film might not deal with death, the film does leave with a thoughtful quote. ‘’Life isn’t about reminiscing, its moving forward’’. Very much the best three hour film I have seen this year, better then ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’.
*Initially Richard Linklater wanted to call the film ’12 Years’, however that title was very much taken