Richard Linklater surmounts filmmaking yet again! After utilizing time in the love story of Jesse and Celine in Before series, here comes a film twelve years in the making Boyhood.
Boyhood follows the life of 6-year old Mason (Ellar Cortrane) as he learns about the joys and struggles of life up until he moves to college. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play his parents and Linklater’s own daughter, Lorelei, plays Sam as Mason’s older sister. Twelve years with the same cast is already impressive, but the result of the whole film is even better. As you watch the film, the slice-of-life-per-year gimmick somehow didn’t matter that much. Linklater intelligently chose to feature the ordinary days in the lives of this family instead of squeezing out the 12-year stunt by inserting jaw-dropping stories and in the end, it’s much more rewarding emotionally because he made it impossible not to relate with them.
Yes, there’s no way people would not relate to this masterpiece. Boyhood is a film for everyone who grew up and that’s basically all of us. Let’s start with the easy and fun one. The film features truckload of nostalgia fever with all the pop references that it used — from Dragon Ball, to Harry Potter, to Twilight, iPods, Lady Gaga, Aaliyah and Britney Spears. To its soundtrack that includes Coldplay, Phoenix, Foster the People, Gotye, The Flaming Lips and my favorite of them all, Family of the Year. It’s our generation and it’s so easy to be familiar with it. It’s like a trip down to memory lane and that it’s something that will truly force you to reflect and look back at your own life as you watch Mason move forward to his. And somehow, as much as this film is about Mason growing up, it also explained grownups so well through his parents.
Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are so good in this that it would also be acceptable if they changed the title of the film to ‘Parenthood’ because they’re as much as stars of the film as the breakthrough star Ellar Cortrane. Both characters are far from being perfect parents but there’s something about them that’s very admirable. Especially Patricia Arquette’s character who walked on a parade of jerks. Her scene in the end where Mason was about to move out of her apartment was extremely affecting as she’s always been tough and so when she broke down and looked back to the life that she had, it’s insurmountably touching. Ethan Hawke on the other hand portrayed a picture of an ideal father, at least for me. Not the most responsible father but his love for his children and how he communicated with them is held in great respect. Ellar Cortrane is amazing as Mason. I don’t think the film would work this much if weren’t for his phenomenal transformation characteristically and physically. The young Mason to me felt like my nephew so when Mason grew up and experienced the ups and downs of life, I can’t help but feel proud, feel sad or feel whatever according to what’s happening in his life.
No one experienced the same things Mason did but growing up through obstacles with family, friends and oneself is something everyone would relate with. And the film made it even more possible by featuring scenes that are not necessarily groundbreaking. But instead it featured the normal living of the characters, from Mason to his sister, to his parents, to every other people that he encountered in his boyhood. That’s why it’s much easier to be invested in it that despite these normal day-to-day living scenes, I was glued to it. I didn’t even notice the almost 3-hour running time because it’s such an interesting and relatable story that I wouldn’t mind seeing another three hours of it.
Who knows? Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane are probably filming right now for a sequel to this film which will be called ‘Adulthood’ or ‘Manhood’. If it turns out to be true, then I’d be ecstatic but if it’s not, Boyhood alone can stand on its own and I’m pretty sure this movie will also stand the test of time.
You can watch Boyhood in Eastwood, Festival, Shang, Century City, CommerCenter, and Gateway cinemas.
Director: Richard Linklater
With: Ellar Cortrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater