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. It’s impossible to watch Mason and his family without thinking about our own journey.
The movie has some very good scenes like the scene where they first move to a different place and the scene where the little kids watch their parents have an argument. The scenes with the first step dad are good but his sudden transformation from a professor to a violent alcoholic seemed contrived. The scenes with the second step dad had the feeling of deja vu because it is similar to the first step dad plot. The scenes with the real father and the conversations or advice were the best part of the movie.
As the synopsis says this movie has been shot with the same actors over a period of 12 years. So we see Mason grow from a 5 year old to a 17 year old in the movie. We see the elder sister, the mother and the father also grow over these 12 years. Now this is the unique thing about this movie. But does this make it a great movie? Does the movie have a great story to tell? Absolutely not. Its like taking someone’s home videos and turning them into a movie.
There is no subtext of 1 year later or so on when the characters grow from one scene to another. One has to just guess from the changed appearances that a year has passed by. There is no context as to why a particular scene is there. The movie never really focuses on anything in detail and in the end many of the scenes seem superficial. The movie is 2 hrs and 45 minutes long and it goes on and on and one begins to wonder what exactly is the point of the movie. Nothing life changing or nothing major happens. And in the end there is some pseudo babble pretending to be something profound.
Ellar Coltrane is very good as the lead character Mason. Ethan Hawke is good as the father and there is some good character development with his character. Patricia Arquette is very good as the mother. Lorelei Linklater is ok as the sister. Marco Perella is good as the alcoholic step dad. Zoe Graham looked very pretty as Sheena.
This is one more overrated movie from Richard Linklater, the director of the overrated Before Sunrise. Now shooting the movie with the same actors over a period of 12 years may be the novelty when it comes to movies but TV serials and sitcoms have already done it many times. And the TV show The Wonder Years which ran from the late 80s to the early 90s already did this with the very same concept. It had the lead character grow from a 12 year old to a 17 year old over the course of the show and it was about his growing up experiences. And that show was set in the late 60s to early 70s. So it had some great historical events like the Vietnam War, the moon landing and so on as the backdrop. Richard Linklater tries to bring in the Iraq war and some Bush bashing and pro Democrat talk but it feels contrived and fake.
The Wonder Years is a way better depiction of growing up and Boyhood feels like just a mediocre movie version of it. Anyone who is planning to watch this movie should instead watch The Wonder Years which is one of the best TV shows ever. Only people who have not watched the TV show The Wonder Years will think of Boyhood as anything great.Tags: Boyhood Ellar Coltrane Ethan Hawke Exclusive Member Reviews Movies You Watched This Month Patricia Arquette Richard Linklater The Wonder Years