Review: Boyhood (2014) – Richard Linklater

boyhood-posterBOYHOOD: Directed by Richard Linklater

From IMDB: The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18.

– Richard Linklater has become one of my favourite directors.  He’s made so many great films in all different types of genres.

– When I first heard of BOYHOOD, I immediately thought it had the potential to be one of my favourite films of all time.  There won’t ever be any more realistic coming-of-age story than this one.

– What I love about watching films is that each new one has the potential to be one of my favourites of all time.  99% of the time they don’t quite make it, but BOYHOOD has made that short list.  It’s one of the most special experiences you’ll ever get from watching a movie.

– A long time ago, Richard Linklater had an ambitious idea, to film a young boy (6 years old) and film him and other actors for the next 12 years.  They shot for around 5 days each year, making one complete film.  So many problems could have occurred, especially since two VERY young actors were cast.  They could have grown up disinterested in the project or turned out to be terrible actors, but luckily none of that happened.

– The main boy in the film, Mason, is played by Ellar Coltrane, who started filming when he was 6 years old.  He gives such a unique and real performance, and it was unbelievable watching this kid grow up on-screen.  It must have been such a surreal experience for him watching the completed film for the first time.  Although he is playing a fictional character, he essentially is watching himself grow up from a young child to a late teen in a matter of 3 hours.

– Playing Mason’s older sister is Richard Linklater’s own daughter, Lorelei Linklater, which was another huge gamble.  She asked him to be in the film when she was a very young girl, and even she has said she didn’t want to finish it in the middle of filming.  Luckily she did because just like Ellar Coltrane, her performance is spot on.  From her Brittney Spears performance to her ‘speech’ at Mason’s graduation party, she’s just a normal girl that anyone would be able to relate with.  I thought the two young actors had fantastic chemistry together, perfectly displaying the on-off relationship of a brother and sister.

Boyhood Image

– In life, one day you’re a baby, and then your 30 years old.  Time goes by, and no one really sees differences in themselves until they look back on their life.  Everyone sees themselves everyday in a mirror, so it’s very difficult to watch yourself change daily.  Something amazing about the film is that there isn’t any indication on the screen when the characters get older.  One scene just transitions into the next, and it’s up to the audience to figure out what’s going on.  It’s easy to tell; by the appearances of the actors, of new and different technologies used (newer generations of Apple Computers or video game consoles), or of political campaigns.  Just like in real life, one second I was watching Mason and his sister Samantha fighting in their childhood bedrooms as young kids, and the next they were both grown up and young adults.  It feels like in the blink of an eye all of the actors got older, and with perfect transitions Linklater was able to make the film so real life like.

– Playing the two divorced parents is Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.  Just like the two kids, both of the parents live lives in the film that anybody in the world would be able to relate with.  I had an especially good time following Ethan Hawke’s character.  At the beginning we meet an immature adult, and as the film progresses we get to see him grow into a father figure, and a man who has figured things out.  Hawke’s performance is absolutely perfect, and if anyone in the film gets an Oscar nomination, I think it will be him.

– The soundtrack is great.  Through the years you will hear songs that were popular at the time of filming, with even one of my favourite bands, Blink 182 getting some action.

still-of-ellar-coltrane-in-boyhood-(2014)-large-picture

I feel like if I wanted to, I could talk about this perfect film forever.  Any human being in the world should spend the time and watch BOYHOOD.  Not only is it a special film, but it’s also an experience that can make you reflect on your own life and think of things you’ve done in the past or look forward to in the future.  It’s just a film about life.  Nothing really happens.  All of the characters grow up in their own unique and individual way, just like every person in real life does.  Things are said and done that can change the lives of others.  I think the most important message from BOYHOOD is that everyone in the world is always ‘coming-of-age.’  Life keeps on going, and everyone is just trying to figure things out.  Richard Linklater thought of a great, ambitious idea, and it definitely paid off.  He created a film that will have you thinking for a long time after viewing.  BOYHOOD is one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

BOYHOOD: 10/10

 

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