Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Marco Perella
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 45 min
Just looking at the film Boyhood as a production process, it’s a phenomenal achievement. When you consider all the things that could have gone wrong over the years it took to make this film. As the movie shows us, a lot can happen to people in 12 years. Hats off then to Richard Linklater for writing and directing this film, and the superb cast for being willing to revisit this project every 2 years. We’re not likely to see another movie like this for a very long time, if at all.
The movie charts the path of a young boy called Mason (Ellar Coltrane), and his family. Rejoining the group every 2 years to catch up and see where they are. At nearly 3 hours, it’s a long mellow ride that somehow never outstays its welcome and feels incredibly authentic. I also enjoyed the connections this film made with my own childhood. Like the favorite bike trail, and the first time I drank beer. The family parties, parents arguing, cash flow problems, school, college, and having to move around.
While Boyhood is an American journey for sure, and one that employs some iconic state side visuals such as the classic muscle car and a family trip to the ball game. Boyhood is also universal, and folks around the world should be able to relate to this coming of age story. My dad didn’t have a muscle car, but I did like his Mark II Golf GTI. Baseball isn’t the national pass time in the UK, but families love a good soccer game.
As a film making experiment, and nostalgic trip through 12 years of music and technology, Boyhood is a great film. But as a piece of drama, I didn’t find this all that emotive, and my participation in this story was never more than passive. The movie didn’t really have anything to tell me, because I’ve already experienced and processed most of the life challenging events depicted in this film. Even as I recognized and even related to some elements in this story, it was their story, not mine. So I watched with interest, but never fully cared about Mason’s journey or the conclusions this film had to offer.
If you’re a fan of Richard Linklater’s films like his ‘Before’ series, I think you’ll appreciate this film. Folks new to Linklater’s work. Expect a nice mellow ride loaded with intelligent dialog, but light on the dramatics. The movie is rated R for some bad language, sexual references and teen drug and alcohol use.
This film isn’t big on spectacle, so a streaming show at home on your TV, laptop or tablet will service this movie decently enough. Get comfortable though, this movie is nearly 3 hours long.
I’m really impressed with how this film was planned and shot over the 12 year production period, and how it all came together and flowed so nicely in the end.