Mason: So what's the point?
Dad: Of what?
Mason: I don't know, any of this. Everything.
Dad: Everything? What's the point? I mean, I sure as shit don't know. Neither does anybody else, okay? We're all just winging it, you know? The good news is you're feeling stuff. And you've got to hold on to that.
More than 12 years ago, filmmaker Richard Linklater had a brillitan cinematic idea: to shoot one film in the course of 12 years, with the same actors, portraying the life of a young boy (turned into a man) and how he copes with growing up. Thus came 'Boyhood'.
This astonishing piece of filmmaking was created to remind audiences and film lovers/enthusiasts all around the world that cinema can be just as much about imagination as it can be about real life too. Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, School of Rock), a self-made writer, producer and director, managed to shoot a film in the scope of 12 years – in all literal sense – and gift the world of this filmmaking masterpiece. The result was a 3-hour long family social teenagy/coming of age drama – along with many comical and down to earth moments – that offered not only a pleasurable screening but also it give amounts of food for thought.
However much Linklater tried to keep it real, the reason this project truly worked, it’s the fact that he had an incredible cast to work with and share this passion for this film. “Keeping it real, keeping it simple.” This phrase was emblazing in my mind throughout the film. He made it believable. Even when things get rough, even when there were moments of uncertainty or a simple dialogue between teenagers, he kept it real.
Starring as the boy growing up, is Ellar Coltrane, who we view his 12 years on film through his eyes and how he experiences things and goes through some hard situations – divorced parents, moving away, mother getting re-married, alcoholic stepfather etc. These are but a few things that we are able to view through Coltrane’s eyes.
In this cinematic experiment Linklater added the likes of Oscar Nominee and Golden Globe Winner Patricia Arquette and Oscar and Golden Globe Nominee Ethan Hawke, to carry through the story of Mason (Coltrane). Both Hawke and Arquette manage to deliver profound and grounded performances throughout, acknowledging the rawness of reality that this film is depicting. Their awareness of what being a parent means, the struggles and sacrifices of keeping a family alive takes can be wonderfully discerned through simple family moments they seem to share separately on screen with one or both their film children. A simple dialogue of what and where life leads you is more than enough to make you appreciate the familiarity of what Linklater depicts. This story is about a family, it’s course, it’s let downs, it’s choices, it’s about the arguments and the hugs and the moments where you feel proud or alive. It’s about love and life.
When the film opens we see Mason, a 5 year old boy, gathering his toys about to move in another town with his mom and his sister. On the film’s epilogue, Mason, an 18-year-old man now, is sitting with new friends from College gazing into the horizon, into this wondrous unknown of where life will take him. The ups and the downs.
Linklater so eloquently manages to encompass the reality of events in Mason’s life, that it almost seems effortless on film. As if viewing these awakward or off beat moments on screen are a direct depiction of any family’s reality out there. This is what makes this film such a unique undertaking; it’s ability to connect to what’s real.
Going around with a buzz in the award season this is one of the major contenders for a Best Picture/Best Director and Best Supporting Actress/Actor award. The first 3, in my honest opinion are more likely to be had from the looks of things, as the Critics as much as the wider public seems to be in favor of Linklater’s film.
Will definitely recommend and commend this film for anyone who appreciates cinematic landmarks. This will definitely be your cup of tea. Just remember that the film might feel a lot more familiar than what you imagine them to be.
- Linklater's daughter, Lorelai Linklater, as Mason's sister. A star on the rise, perhaps?!?
- This song, which will be echoed throughout this film's running time...