Written and Directed by Richard Linklater “Boyhood” stars Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke. The film hits theaters this Friday, June 11.
We had the opportunity to attend a special screening of the film with the cast this week at the MoMA. Read our review below:
Filming a movie over the span of 12 years could possibly qualify as insane and unconventional in almost every way. If Richard Linklater is anything though, he’s most certainly an unconventional director. With the “Before Sunrise” trilogy and his rotoscoped films “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly,” Linklater brings an entirely new perspective to filmmaking. In a time where movies are so focused on CGI, explosions, car chases, and action, the guy is a breath of fresh air. With each and every one of his films, Linklater focuses on people and the human condition — what it’s like to live in this world with everyone’s different philosophies, politics, and views on life and love. In “Boyhood,” Linklater spends 12 years with his cast, watching them grow up and having them experience and live their lives the best they can. The final result is a masterpiece — an epic unlike any other movie created.
When talking about “Boyhood,” there’s not much to talk about when it comes to plot. What Linklater creates on screen is a boy’s journey through life. Beginning at age 8, we watch Mason (Coltrane) grow up and mature year by year with his older sister Samantha (Linklater). With his parents divorced, Mason and Samantha live with their Mother (Arquette). Struggling to make a life for herself, she’s unable to provide a stable household for Mason and Sam but no matter what she attempts to give them the best life she possibly could. While life is more of a struggle with the Mother, life seems to take a relaxation period whenever Mason gets to spend time with his Father (Hawke). He’s unreliable and his life is a bit of a mess most of the time but the one thing that can’t be denied is how much he loves his children. As the years go on, Mason goes through life seeking the answers every teenager looks for while figuring out the direction he wants his life to take. Through Mason, we go through a journey that we’ve all taken before — for some of us the journey is still going on.
What makes “Boyhood” different than any other epic that I’ve seen is there’s no dramatic twists, there’s no explosions, there’s no fight scenes. Nothing of the sort. What Linklater shows us is life, a kid forging his own path and trying to figure out his purpose. At times it seems unspectacular and dull but Linklater is able to find the beauty in the most mundane moments that we all wish to rush on past in life. Any small moment can be turned into something important and meaningful. Linklater builds Boyhood through those moments
For “Boyhood” to be a success, Linklater had to choose his actors for the movie wisely. Being filmed over 12 years, there was no way for him to really know what he had when he started. But with Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater (his own daughter) he struck gold. From 6 years old to 18 years old, Coltrane is just extraordinary. The beginning of the movie was owned by Lorelai who worked off of Ellar so well. Lorelai was loud, excitable, and full of energy while Ellar seemed more introverted and not quite ready to break out. Towards the middle and end, the movie was fully on Ellar and he doesn’t disappoint. Every moment with Mason is authentic and real and that’s all due to the splendid work of Ellar Coltrane.
To put it simply, there just aren’t enough words for me to say everything I want to say about “Boyhood.” There’s never been a movie like it before and there most certainly will never be a movie quite like it ever again. It’s an experience unlike any other and it absolutely must be witnessed. Richard Linklater is one of the best American writer/directors working now as well as one of the most underappreciated. But that may very well change with his most recent masterpiece. Boyhood is one of the best, most ambitious movies that I have ever seen.