Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater, Steven Chester Prince, Bonnie Cross, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard, Andrew Villarreal, Shane Graham, Tess Allen, Ryan Power, Sharee Fowler, Mark Finn, Charlie Sexton, Byron Jenkins, Holly Moore, David Blackwell, Barbara Chisholm, Matthew Martinez-Arndt, Cassidy Johnson, Cambell Westmoreland, Jennifer Griffin, Garry Peters
Synopsis: The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use
10 / 10
- Unique concept, and well executed story
- The acting was fairly decent. Not exactly stellar, but each actor plays their part well.
- Pacing was great
- Cinematography was great
- Movie carries many great themes about life, and how unpredictable it can be sometimes.
- To be honest, there are no real flaws with this feature. The only real draw back is that if you're not into dramas, or you prefer mainstream movies over indie flicks, then chances are you're not going to like this feature. However, if you're yearning to see something different, then it's worth checking out.
Seize the moment? Or do the moments seize us?
It's been often said that we must seize the moment, when it arises. Or perhaps, those precious moments are what seizes us to make the choices we follow in life. Maybe that's all life is. Nothing more than a bunch of moments. Some bad. Some good. Some happen without reason, while others help us grow into who we are. Life is filled with mystery in itself, and a lot of time it's hard to find an answer to what the meaning of life is...that is assuming there's even a meaning to begin with...
"Boyhood" is essentially a film about nothing. There's no car chases, or super powered anthropomorphic characters jumping around in this feature. No, "Boyhood" is a story about life itself. Showing a small boy growing up through the years, and how he evolves into the man he becomes by the end. There's no stereotypical Hollywood cliches here. Heck, even the parents are shown to be just as clueless about life as their own children tend to be. Sometimes the choices we make can dictate the lives we lead, or sometimes s*** just happens through no fault of our own.
Although I doubt "Boyhood" is going to appeal to most mainstream audiences, it's definitely worth checking out if only to watch something that's truly unique within it's own simplicity. The acting in this feature may not be stellar, but each actor plays their perspective parts rather well.
The movie has been in the making for over twelve years, with the same cast. Ellar Coltrane (Mason) is the star of this feature, as he plays the audience's surrogate through this story. His character doesn't say much, but it's through his eyes that we see "Boyhood" unfold.
It's been said during a few interviews that Ellar Coltrane, played a heavy influence on his character's development. Linklater and Ellar would often consult with each other year by year to determine where the character should go, as most of Mason's personality seems to be reflective of Ellar's own nature. While I can't say Ellar had a great performance, I will say that the collaborative effort between him and Linklater seem to pay off in this movie.
Mason starts off as a normal boy, as he lives with his elder sister and divorced mother. His mom is barely able to make ends meet to support them, while their father lives in another state. It's never said why they divorced, but it's heavily implied that Mason's father, played by Ethan Hawke, wasn't exactly the most responsible parent in the world.
As the film moves along, we see Mason's family transition through life aimlessly. Going from school to school. Watching his mom marry, and divorce, various other men in her life. We see Mason's estranged father try to reconnect with them after the divorce, while seeing him start a new family of his own. Heck, we even see some relationship problems that Mason develops with other girls over time. As I mentioned before, "Boyhood's" story is truly about nothing more than a protagonists journey through everyday life. As we watch the film, we watch Mason grow from an innocent young boy to a grown man himself. A man that has made quite a few mistakes in his lifetime.
Throughout the movie, we see our protagonist go through various hardships either by his own doing, or sometimes through no fault of his own. It's an interesting character study to say the least, and it surprisingly moves at a very good pace. Given the premise one would think that "Boyhood" would suffer from a few pacing issues, but it surprisingly doesn't. If anything, the movie goes by at a fairly decent pace. Never dragging it's feet, but it still manages to slow down enough to allow the audience to take in what's going on.
The cinematography was kept consistently shot in a 35mm negative, as Richard Linklater was quite adamant about "Boyhood" having a certain level of consistency throughout the twelve year filming process. Even though during this time, many filmmakers were switching over to HD formats, but Linklater didn't want the evolution of the story to come from any outside indicators. No, he wanted the story evolve naturally on it's own narrative, and it seems to pay off rather well here. Not only maintaining a strong level of consistency, but it's nice to see that Linklater wasn't trying to pull any gimmicks to make the narrative work.
While I doubt "Boyhood" will garner as much attention as it should, it's definitely worth checking out. Not only is this movie arguably the best movie of 2014 thus far, but it's possibly even one of the most unique stories ever brought to the big screen. If you're tired of seeing the same old Hollywood cliche crap that comes out these days, then "Boyhood" should be right up your alley.
© 2014 Steven Escareno
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