Richard Linklater has made some of my favorite movies of all time. With classics like ‘Dazed and Confused’ to personal favorites like ‘School of Rock’, I love just about everything the guy has done. Boyhood marks yet another film that stands right up there with his best, and probably my favorite movie of this year so far. The big selling point of course, is that it was filmed over 12 years, as we see a kid, Mason, grow from being a 6 year old to 18 and leaving for college. It’s a huge technical achievement on Linklater’s part, both writing and directing over that huge span of time, but an even larger success at being one of the most relatable, emotional, and realistic movie experiences I’ve ever had. It’s one of the rare movies that feels like it was made just for me.
First off, there really isn’t a ‘plot’ to Boyhood. The movie is simple about the life of a family as it evolves over the period of 12 years, and many of the good and bad things that we all experience. I said it was one of the most relatable and personal movies I’ve ever seen, and that’s mainly due to how much I felt I had in common with Mason. While I’m a few years older than he was, this movie very much takes place in the real world. There are scenes with the Iraq war on television, the evolving landscape of politics, and all of the advances that happened over the years acting as bookmarks of sorts, so we know what time period we’re watching. Mason has an older sister who does much better in school than him, often spending a lot of his time playing video games (Oregon Trail in elementary school FTW!) and doodling in class. His father (played wonderfully by Ethan Hawke) isn’t around much as a kid, but slowly starts to be as he grows up, as his mom (Patricia Arquette) has a rocky marriage with an alcoholic asshole. Mason is never the hero in any circumstance. He’s never extraordinary, or particularly amazing at anything. Like most people in the world, he’s more than happy just to make it through this mess called life.
At an almost three hour running time, Boyhood never at any point feels too long. By the end, I just wanted it to continue; to see this new college freshman grow into a man and succeed in the real world. Then I realized that that’s the point; everyone wants some time of closure, or answer. This movie is remarkable because almost nobody gets anything like that in the real world. In a great scene near the end, Mason asks his dad at a show in Austin what life is all about. His dad basically laughs it off with a “Hell, I don’t know.” Not to sound gloomy, but at the end of the day, nobody really does.
I could talk on and on about how great this movie is, but I think everyone should just see it. It’s an incredibly impactful and unique film that I think, although it’s called ‘Boyhood’, has something for everyone to relate to. It almost feels like I just saw a documentary more than a movie, but the fact that Linklater can make movies that feel so authentic and organic to everyday human experiences is masterful. With Boyhood, I think Linklater just jumped to the top of the list of my favorite directors. This is one that’s definitely going to be on my mind for a long time.
If you’ve seen Boyhood, talk to me about it! Boyhood is one of those movies that I just want to yell from a rooftop for everyone to see. Also, sorry that I had like a week off there from any entries, but I’m slowly going to be transitioning to fewer and fewer up until fall classes start. It’s going to be an incredibly busy time for me, hopefully finishing up college, but I’m going to do at least two entries a week going forward. As always, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, hit me up on here or Twitter, and thanks for checking out the blog!