Usually film reviews are reserved for movies that have recently been released into theaters but since its Oscar season, I decided to break that code with Boyhood. Directed by visionary director Richard Linklater, Boyhood is the story of a young man who grew from a child into adulthood and how he dealt with the usual things that most young boys must confront on their way to adulthood (friends, step parents, siblings, love, heartbreak, etc). This isn’t a new concept by no stretch of the imagination. What sets Boyhood apart is that Linklater cast a six year old boy for the lead role at the beginning of the project and then shot the entire film with the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) over the course of twelve years so you see this elementary age child grow into a college freshman over the course of the film.
As I stated before the plot of the film is very simple but at the same time doesn’t shy away from the complexities of life for a lot of people. The film opens to a family unit without a father trying to make it and there is obvious tension between ‘Mom’ played by Patricia Arquette and ‘Dad’ played by Ethan Hawke since their assumed recent divorce. Throughout the movie, Arquette’s character is doing everything she can to finish school so she can get a better job and while also trying to find love but instead continues to find the same kind of man, an alcoholic which becomes a common thread among the men in her life except for Hawke, who despite being the stereotypical single dad, for the most part has his life together. Mason grows throughout the years into a very creative and mellow person which is the complete opposite of both of his parents and eventually graduates and heads off to college. It truly is a joy to watch this film and see Mason as a child grow into the young man that he becomes.
Richard Linklater did a fantastic job with Boyhood and really took a gamble as you don’t know how things will be different in certain actors’ and actress’s lives over the course of twelve years. For instance, at one point Lorelei Linklater who plays Samantha, Mason’s sister, lost interest in being an actress and begged out of the part which would have really brought the picture down but Lorelei’s father, director Richard Linklater, talked her into finishing the project. Had anything happened to Richard Linklater during filming, Ethan Hawke would have taken over as director of the film. So as you can see, there are obvious hurdles when taking this much time for a single film but Linklater really pulled it together for a great movie.
Boyhood is receiving some serious fanfare as it has recently hit the shelves for DVD sales. It is also receiving serious honors on the awards circuit. It has won over 40 awards at film festivals, was nominated for 5 Golden Globes and won three of them (Best Picture-Drama, Best Director, Actress in a Supporting Role). Boyhood is nominated for six Academy Awards and to be completely honest, I feel it has a legitimate chance to win every single one of them. Richard Linklater deserves all of the credit that he gets for this film and the vision he achieved by making it. Patricia Arquette almost stole the show with her performance. Ethan Hawke showed off some serious acting chops with his development from a guy on the verge of being a deadbeat dad to becoming a really great father. This one is available right now where ever you can rent or buy new movies and I highly recommend it. Let me know when you recognize the girl at the end.