Boyhood is the unique and spellbinding telling of what is an altogether average story. In today’s cookie cutter Hollywood, Boyhood is the only movie that can boast true uniqueness.
The movie written and directed by Richard Linklater, follows a middle class Texan family for over a decade. Linklater took twelve years to shoot the movie and used the same actors from start to finish.
We first meet Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), the main character in the story, when he is seven years old and the movie follows him until his first day of college. He is a child of divorce living with his mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, director Richard Linklater’s real life daughter) in small town Texas. Through the course of the film the family changes and grows as Mason’s mother struggles to better herself and “fix” her family unit by finding a suitable new father figure for her children.
Mason and Samantha’s biological father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is also present in the film, but he seems immature and appears to grow up alongside his children. As the family progresses, both individually and as a whole, we see the complexities of love, relationships, social norms, and sacrifice.
The soundtrack for the film chronicles the popular music of the early twentieth century, ranging from Britney Spears to Soulja Boy to Arcade Fire. For those of us born in the 80s and 90s, it’s a musical photo album of our own coming of age. However, other than the music made or listened to by the characters, the film has little scoring.
With no narration and few musical cues, it is left to the actors to portray the intended message of each scene and the viewer to fill in the blanks. This open space for interpretation and projection makes it easy for the viewer to place themselves and their loved ones into the story. The audience leaves the theater feeling attached to the characters in a way makes the film real.
Boyhood beautifully explores the million shades of grey that are life. The runtime is 165 minutes, that’s a long time to sit still, but it’s worth it!
The film is currently playing at A/peture Cinema, Carmike Wynsong 12, and Carousel Grande Cinema.