12 years in the making.

166 min     7.5     2014     USA


The film tells a story of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son. The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows.


tmdb39513728 wrote:
**Phenomenal** When you think back to _Slackers_ you remember how easy that movie flowed. How comfortably it drifted. Just go with it. Let it happen, live in the moment. Then there's the _Before trilogy_ which again seemed effortless and free-flowing yet constructed with so much care that you knew this filmmaker was not only unusual, but acutely human. That he cherished experience and learning and submitted to the eternal present, surrendering to and tinkering with fate, while tending to the perpetually immediate situation with enormous sensitivity and regard. But nothing could prepare you for _Boyhood_. You can't overstate the fact that it's a grand free-flowing time-lapse experiment and that most of the actors--no not actors, not performers--most of the people were cast when the central figure was a very young boy, looking up at the sky, having no idea how his future would unfold. The world might be a stage but Richard Linkater is not omnipotent. As a definitive work-in-progress, a daring collaboration with fate and destiny, who could really know how the boy's script was going to turn out, and how the wide array of voices in his life would shape him as he stumbles toward adulthood? Only a true sure-footed and fluid filmmaker, an authentic disarming innovator could raise this baby with as much beauty and wisdom. Dazed and Confused? Make room for Clear and Composed. Hear the lamb howl. _Boyhood_ is a daring experimental wolf wrapped in conventional wool. Needing to be shot chronologically, the linear time-line and 12-year shooting schedule called for a fresh and original approach to crafting a movie. If something went wrong during the many long gaps in production, say, if an actor suddenly became unavailable, or some drastic circumstance threatened to break the continuity of the boy and his family's life, there's no going back to re-shoot. No relying on special effects make-up or casting young and old versions of a character. The faith invested in this concept and the delicate handling of it's execution is a marvel to witness, blooming before our eyes. Patricia Arquette was growing up too. Aging faster than Ellar Coltrane, it appeared. This movie defies breaking up into a series of disjointed, episodic fragments. And Arquette stitches together an admirable and dedicated performance as the ubiquitous maternal defender who struggles to keep herself and her family from falling apart. Because of the blur between fiction and reality, between drama and documentary, and because of the way Linklater is able to nurture the process and allow his films to take on a life of their own, Arquette may not be acting on set any more than she has to in real life. A slight adjustment in perspective and this movie could have been called _Motherhood_.
mattwilde123 wrote:
Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood' is a brilliant film about life and the struggle to find meaning. It follows a family through a twelve year period as they endure situations and tackle obstacles together. The main technical aspect of the film is a very controversial and memorable one as Linklater hired his main actors and continued to follow them for twelve years thus adding to the realism of the feature adding much poignancy to the themes. The overall direction can be considered very naturalistic and simple but there are wonderful shots of natural environments such as the beautiful river that Mason and his father visit representing the beauty of life whilst underlining the insignificance of man's role in the world. The screenplay is a touching study of the meaning of life. There is a great balance of humour and heart-rending dialogue throughout the film. At 165 minutes, the movie is a long one but the pacing was perfect and captivating that I hardly noted the film's duration. The characters each have profound dialogue in which they discuss the journey of which they (and we) are going through and question the reasoning of difficult events. The performances in 'Boyhood' are exceptional. Mason (Ellar Coltrane) starts off as relatively inexperienced and under-developed but matures as the film progresses adding substance to his character's arch. This performance is supported by the excellent Patricia Arquette who plays the mother. Arquette manages to portray the mother perfectly as she undergoes traumatic events that shape her family's life. Overall, I feel that 'Boyhood' is a technically brilliant achievement in film-making. Not only is the process fascinating in terms of the methods used to create the film but it is also a fascinating investigation into time. ★★★★½
The Movie Diorama wrote:
Boyhood organically condenses twelve years of upbringing into an undramatic three hour behemoth. The journey of adolescence is one personality-altering experience that each of us inevitably undertakes. An existential life step that physically and personably transforms our very bodies, from innocent child to independent adult. Parents forced to release their protective talons and enable their children to venture out into the harsh world, justifiably falling down the pitfalls of life and picking themselves back up again. But what’s the point of it all? We grow up. We attend school. We work. We live, love and lie. Only to see ourselves never progress on a personal level. Life is valuable. It is a finite amount of time that rapidly ticks by at the rate to which we grow older. It can often be disillusioning, but most importantly, it can be special. It’s up to us to make the most out of the limited time bestowed upon us. Linklater’s sprawling coming-of-age epic is a technical masterclass in ingenuity. Depicting the adolescence of a young boy growing up in Texas with his divorced parents. Logistically, literarily and lovingly, Linklater opted for the innovative concept of filming in real-time. The actors physically growing with their characters, with the ability to add personal experiences to the narrative. This ambitious depiction of maturing is subconsciously organic, and proved to be an effective method in illustrating adolescence. It kept the casting limited, without having to obtain multiples actors for the same character at different stages of childhood, and exhumed a sense of natural intuition. That being said, this meticulous construct of film-making unfortunately facilitated a mellow story that lacked any drama or emotional depth. Coming-of-age dramas work effectively when depicting one specific year that dares to dramatically endeavour into relatability. The issue with Boyhood is that, due to its extensive duration of narrational time, several aspects were emotionally subdued. For example, Mason experimenting with alcohol and recreational substances. Linklater failed to dig into the emotional conflict that lead Mason down that path, merely likening the character to an empty shell. Another example, Bill drunkenly assaulting Olivia. Again, this case of domestic abuse is only touched upon before Linklater moves on with Mason’s life. Boyhood is essentially a montage of fictitious memories. Good and bad. It’s all part of growing up. But does that necessarily result in an entertaining or emotionally captivating film? For me, it’s a hesitant “no”. Sure, there will be scenes that are relatable to your own upbringing and therefore engage you momentarily. Personally I warmed to the scenes involving Hawke’s fatherly figure and his attempt to rekindle with his children. Growing up with divorced parents, Linklater’s dialogue was incredibly realistic and related to my own life. But as I said, he then quickly moves on with the narrative and the emotionality is diminished yet again. Hawke and Arquette offer their intense acting styles to spice up the narrative, however Coltrane and Linklater’s own daughter rarely displayed variety. The plot’s structure itself commenced with nostalgic-fuelled simplicity (GameBoy Advance SP, DragonBall Z, Coldplay’s “Yellow” etc.) and then ending on philosophical existentialism, which I suppose merged adequately with Mason’s advancing frame of mind. Yet I cannot shake the feeling of disappointment. Linklater took no risks with the story. Limited emotional depth. Boyhood, for all its technical ingenuity, remained hollow. “One of the greatest films of the decade”? I’m not convinced, yet I appreciate the innovation behind the lacklustre story.