Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. Written by
The baseball game that Dad brings Mason and Samantha to was a real Brewers / Astros contest, held on August 18, 2005. The Astros' Jason Lane actually did hit a home run down the left field line (precisely where the camera was pointing) during the only inning, the 2nd, that the crew shot on-field action. However, in the film, Mason reports afterwards that the Astros "won it on Lane's three-run homer," while in reality, it was a solo home run, and the Astros lost when Roger Clemens gave up four runs in the seventh inning. See more »
The day that Mason arrives at college at the University of El Paso, Dalton, Barb and Nicole invite him to take the "late afternoon bus" to Big Bend, saying they can get there before long. The nearest corner of Big Bend National Park is 250 miles away from El Paso. See more »
The key factor in Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is that it relies on life as its main plot point, not just the characters and their motivations. Like life, they change as the years go by in spirit and in goals. For young children coming of age, their youth is a turbulent time full of raging hormones and confused emotions, questioning themselves about their place in this life you only live once, so they say.
Life never favors other people. There are others who seem to have it all and there are others who are always struggling. Mason's parents are the perfect example they separate on amicable terms, and one seems to be more successful than the other, but then it shifts so gradually that their fates balance each other's out, making it unavoidably fair. Unpredictable, that life.
So it goes with little Mason's youth. We first see him as a kid, gazing into the sky, wondering about life at an age where he is supposedly carefree. His sister with an attitude constantly teases him in a realistically annoying manner, and their single mother is struggling to find a better life for them all. Man men enter their lives, most unfortunately alcoholic and troubled. Mason, like most boys in that situation, logically seeks out advice from his father from time to time. He never really says it, but he's feeling confused and needs proper guidance.
We've all been in his shoes. We were (some still are) all confused, lonely, trying to comprehend this thing call life. We were all spoilt brats with attitudes that would make our parents tear their hair off their heads. We were all their bundles of joy whenever we succeeded in something. Yet they are still human like us, and at their age are still trying to find out where life is taking them, for better or for worse. Linklater perfectly captures that essence, and spreads it out perfectly across nearly three hours of condensed life. He does the rarity - create an experimental film that sounds well enough to perform well with indie audiences, yet retain the emotional energy of classic Hollywood melodramas down to its barest, realistic form and lays it all out in front of the audience to see.
That's the beauty of his film, it isn't one-sided. It ebbs and flows with the current, and surrounds the audience with its unforced, genuine emotions. I did not feel much empathy for Mason as much as I did feeling LIKE Mason as he went through this crazy, subtle adventure. I felt moved and touched with every poignant scene Mason has to go through, enlightened whenever his father gives him some advice, as bewildered as he is at life.
We don't have many movies like this anymore nowadays. Few movies are willing to evoke the senses purely, both independent and mainstream one either cops out and goes for audience sentimentality (and Oscar votes) while the other becomes pretentious fluff that thinks its art but it isn't, just an artist on a stage full of sound and fury. "Boyhood" is that rare gem that isn't an incredibly beautiful film with many layers that provoke the mind and emotions, and left me feeling bittersweet with a tidal wave of nostalgia and poignancy, but ultimately left me feeling optimistic about the future.
Mason's journey has been quite the ride, indeed. That this was filmed in 12 years is no easy task by itself - this is a film that speaks of our time perfectly, defining the current generation with aplomb where so many other modern filmmakers grasped. If you are, or are parents with kids who were, born within the 1990s and early 2000s, you owe it to yourself to see this film.
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