Tuesday, 20 January 2015

#9: BOYHOOD

#9: BOYHOOD (1.19.15)
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater. Written and directed by Richard Linklater. 166 minutes long.

The boyhood of a boy called Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, told in moments across 12 years of his young life. The product of young divorced parents, Mason and his sister, Samatha – played by Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei – live with their mom, Olivia who yearns to return to college and finish off her education. Boyhood is the very definition of a slow burn movie, taking 14 minutes shy of three hours to meander up to the point, which is that life is just that, a series of moments strung together. And that’s it.

Along the way, we watch Mason grow up and turn from cute to lumpy, to cute again, to teenage to lumpy and finally into gangly, pouting, wannabe teenage-model complete with ear piercing and designer scruffy hair as his mother, Patricia Arquette grows old gracefully, putting on weight like all middle aged people and wearing her age with pride while his father, Ethan Hawke defies the aging process entirely and instead opts to wear a variety of moustaches and facial hair to denote the passing of time. The film, like real life, is filled with moments of sweetness, sadness and humour as life lessons are learned and relationships breakdown, and all the while Mason drifts through it all aimlessly in a sort of unspoken quest for answers as he searches for his ‘thing’. The film is littered with funny moments that will resonate with parents everywhere, but it’s Linklater’s own daughter Lorelei who is perhaps the funniest character in the film, bringing as she does a sardonic, dry wit and sass with a capital sass!


It’s strangely engaging watching the young cast grow up and change before your eyes and while the film is never anything other than engrossing you’re left wondering what happened to the characters that got lost along the way, left behind in their wake, Mason’s step brother and sister for example and his abusive step fathers? But perhaps that’s not the point, this film is all about Mason and how he sees the world and for him, as it is with most children it seems to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

With naturalist acting, a charming soundtrack that seems to name-check perfectly just the right song for the moment, an unobtrusive camera and direction and not a single explosion, gun battle, robot or car chase in sight, Boyhood is a truly impressive achievement rightly lauded by nearly every film critic and film festivals around the world.

Slow, languid but never boring. Boyhood is a glorious experience and if you like movies about nothing, this is most certainly one for you!

9/10

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