Sunday, 13 July 2014

Boyhood - review

Every now and then a film comes along that is hailed as "the film of our lifetime" but Boyhood could have a legitimate case to hold that title as it is literally the film of a lifetime.

With his Before Trilogy, Linklater has revisited characters nine and eighteen years after their original meeting but Boyhood is something else entirely.

It is a unique cinematic portrait which saw Richard Linklater film 7 year old Ellar Coltrane over a period of twelve years to chart the progression of the character Mason from a boy to a young man in the world's greatest and most detailed time lapse video ever made.

Just as Mason grows and develops into a confident young man, Coltrane improves the older he gets, delivering a very honest and naturalistic performance.

Linklater's own daughter Lorelei plays Mason's sister (and gets it straight away, really impressing in the early scenes) with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke (who between this and the Before Trilogy must be the most patient and loyal actor in Hollywood) lending experience and stability as his estranged parents.

Just like life, the movie is more than the sum of its parts. Linklater purposefully avoids it being a check list of Mason's major milestones (first kiss, first fight, first car, first drink, first job, losing virginity, etc, etc). Instead it focuses on the quieter moments (a walk down a street chatting to a girl, discussing the possibility of a new Star Wars film during a late night camping trip with his dad, giggling over a Victoria's Secrets catalogue).

They might not be the moments that would play in a greatest hits package of your life but they all go towards making you what you are today.

Because Boyhood is not just about Mason's life. It is impossible to watch the film and not have some form of personal reflection during it.

Whether you are a parent, remembering things about your own kids, or if you grew up during that time period, reminiscing about the time you queued up at midnight to get the last Harry Potter book, spent hours debating future Star Wars plots or snuck out to go party with your friends.

"Life moves pretty fast. if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it" and Richard Linklater has perfectly captured this in 146 mins but they also say "life's too short" and I could have happily watch a few more hours of this incredible and unique piece of cinema.

5 stars

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