Boyhood: A Masterpiece About Growing Up
A young boy looks up at the gorgeous sky with wonder in his eye, with thoughts and fasciations running through his head. This is the beautiful opening shot to ‘Boyhood’ an unforgettable film from director Richard Linklater that's opening in Boise on August 8th at The Flicks.
His films, every last one of them, seem to stick with you and never let go. Just last year he made ‘Before Midnight’, the brilliant third chapter in Linklater’s terrific ‘Before’ trilogy. Now with ‘Boyhood’ he’s reached new, impeccable heights.
Throughout the film we watch as Mason played by Elar Coltrane grows up from age seven to eighteen, all shot in the span of twelve years. Shooting every summer from 2002 to 2013, the movie is an incredible achievement just from how it was created but there’s so many complex and absorbing layers to this story that the film altogether feels exhilarating. Linklater has always played with the concept of time but never in this large of a scope.
I grew up watching Linklater’s films and becoming deeply inspired by them. After watching the ‘Before’ trilogy I felt what the magic of cinema can do to someone, to make people feel raw emotion, whether that be empathy, laughter, or even joy. Linklater’s movies showed me what was possible with the medium of cinema and he’s once again amazed me even more with ‘Boyhood’, his greatest film to date.
It always amazes me how cinema has the ability to make a viewer reminisce on personal experience. While watching ‘Boyhood’, I found myself thinking about my own time growing up, my experience having divorced yet loving parents, having an artistic dream and finding a way to pursue it, and how I've grown as a person throughout my life. Having just graduated high school two months ago and on my way to college in a few weeks, Boyhood had a personal effect on me. I related deeply to Mason’s own journey through life and found his experiences rang true throughout every scene.
I first saw the film at its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, while watching the film in a crowd of over 2,000. The experience was joyous, almost overwhelming. Now having seen the film twice I still have the craving to see it a third time. The film has a certain, sensational effect on you that you truly feel as though you’re simply watching these characters grow up and evolve right before your eyes. Linklater has crafted one of the most bold and daring films ever made and has reached his highest and most ambitious peak yet.
Elar Coltrane’s performance as Mason goes beyond acting, as do all of the cast member’s performances. Ethan Hawke plays a loving father who wants to be there for his kids yet he can’t seem to get his life together. His character’s transformation is moving and wonderful while Patricia Arquette's performance and transformation is just as marvelous. She plays a strong mother raising her children with compassion and responsibility while still never finding the right husband. The two men she does get involved with throughout the movie are both arrogant drunks especially one in particular who was one of Arquette’s college professors. Arquette and Hawke both deliver the finest work of their careers, both revealing the characteristics of their characters in naturalistic and carefully depicted fashions. Every scene, every transition, and every line of dialogue spoken feels uncanny and true. Lorleii Linklater, Linklater’s very own daughter, is fantastic as Mason’s older sister, giving as much depth to the movie as Coltrane does.
The film goes through many, diverse events in Mason’s young life, from going camping with his dad to finding his passion for photography. There’s many thoughtful conversations played out in relaxed, natural manners and fluid, smooth transitions from age to age that truly capture the essence of Linklater’s style of filmmaking. Even the music throughout the film becomes its own part of the movie, every song representing a certain time and place in life.
The final scene, Mason sitting watching the gorgeous sky once again, this time with the sun setting and a beautiful girl by his side, is a celebration of life itself and growing up into the unique person you become. The film ends perfectly with the two smiling and anticipating the road ahead of them. I could go on about how much I adore this film but my advice is to simply just go see the film and experience it for yourself. I’ve never connected with a movie as much as I have with ‘Boyhood’ and I’m sure it will become a new classic in the history of cinema. The film opens on August 8th at The Flicks.