Movie Review: Boyhood [2014]

Richard Linklater started a project in between the "before" series that most of directors are either incapable, or have no patience to do. He decided to film a life of one family, in particular a member of this family Mason [Ellar Coltrane] through 12 years until his young adulthood. More amazingly, he did not change any of actors, instead filmed different scenes of movie year by year, so that every actor grew old naturally in the film. The concept of Boyhood is similar to Linklater's acknowledged trilogy which also follows a couple through 18 years, visiting them in every 9 years. Here, instead, film is done as a one [damn] long story skipping from year to year and transforming to a later periods quite quickly. Having brought an impressive cast of Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, and his own daughter Lorelei Linklater, Richard created an realistic journey with Mason, his sister Samantha and mom.

First, we are introduced to this small family of three, where mother [Arquette] is divorced and still tries to partner with the guy taking care of her children. This unsuccessful attempt results in those three departing to another city to make it work better. The next guy turns out to be tyrant, beating his wife and abusing children. So, this story also has no happy ending. While they are struggling, kids' father and ex-husband of Patricia's character - Ethan Hawke - is living his life, seeing children on weekends and holidays and doing the best of him to be a dad. 

Film feels extremely natural, as if you are looking at real life of real people. The fact that actors grow up, get old and progress through one movie and you know that this is not fake, makeup or special effects, just aggravates sense of reality. On the other hand, it sometimes gets as boring as the lives of others [and ours too]. Regardless all the good stuff I'm gonna say below, Boyhood sometimes felt a little long [it's 165 minutes] and hard to follow.
Because the plot stays as close to real life as possible, it feels extremely natural, but dialogues sometimes lack wittiness and sharpness - what I mostly love in good screenplays. As mentioned above, film sometimes is not easy to catch up, I even replied some of tweets in the first half. The second one was a lot better and interesting because it mostly focuses on Mason's personal life, his challenges and growing up problems. I found his transition from child to teenager very interesting. But the first half was kind of something I've seen in number of movies. Having said that, I believe movie could have been a little shorter. Now, Boyhood takes its time to settle down and bring all those tiny stories to one scope.

Linklater did a great job in showing us they way we all grew up, things we don't remember or our mind refuses to remember. In the beginning, we all are like passengers, just like Mason, who has to follow adults, mom, dad, older sister. Then we start to grow up and see the world from different point of view - ours and we no longer are wishing to follow others because we already figured out how things work out there.
Boyhood is a good film because of it's amazing cast. Ellan Contrane delivers all touching performances at any age, but especially to the end of the film. Patricia Arquette is also seriously good playing his mother, delivering emotional, devastating performance. The rest of cast, including Hawke is as good as the film itself.

In conclusions, Boyhood is the most original film so far, with very interesting mission and pretty impressive execution. If think that you will see Mason's emotional ups and downs here, you will be disappointed. Instead, it demonstrates very average life of average child. So, get prepared, you sometimes can get too excited or bored. But it is life - any of us could have dealt with it before.

Oscar chances: I'm sure it grabs couple of nominations, including writing and best picture. Not sure yet about directing or supporting actress bid for Arquette, but it is deserving in both categories. However, I doubt it actually wins best picture. It's too experimental and "not important" for that title.

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