The film that took 12 years to make, not because of production issues or budget issues, it was a plan to film a boy’s growth from child to young adult. An experiment that one would regard as revolutionary and interesting to see the cast grow as people and characters. Boyhood is a brilliant film that invites the viewer to witness this growth of not just the central character but the surrounding family.
Directed by Richard Linklater, Boyhood is about a 12 year old boy, Mason Evans, journey from child to adolescence to the cusp of young adulthood. Mason lives in an estranged family with divorced parents. Filmed over 12 years, Boyhood is a raw and somewhat real experience of growing up. The brilliant thing about Boyhood in its method of filmmaking is that it becomes a non-film experience.
At a runtime of three hours, at points of the film, there are moments of nothingness. Life is like that. Life is full of some big moments but is usually filled with moments of nothingness. Whether this is just hanging about in a field chatting with your mates or digging holes in your back garden looking for worms. These moments are not really life changing but are important to the person that we will be. Boyhood is a diversion from typical cinematic experience, it can be long and slow at times but this is the intention. Boyhood jumps year to year with some key moments and some moments of no true clear impact.
Boyhood is one of the most satisfying experiences because in that three hours we see all these characters and actors grow up in actual real life. We see a young boy who becomes curious of the world and wants to explore. We as a audience can feel nostalgic in a sense that we as young people had that same journey. We all had the promise and positivity of wonder and only be let down by the mundanity of life. I know this sounds bleak but that is not all you can get from this film. Physically we all stop growing around the age of 18 but this film depicts that past puberty we do not stop growing as people. Mason, acts as the central character but he also acts as a vessel for the surrounding characters.
Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as Mason’s parents are an amazing portrayal of an estranged relationship that does affect Mason. Arquette’s plays Olivia, the hardworking Mum that has to work multiple jobs for her family and she is also in University to get a better job. The character of Olivia is one that is tragic but inspiring, her character arc is full of tragedy but she overcomes it one because of her family and another to the fact she has no choice but to persevere. Ethan Hawke playing Mason’s Dad, Mason Sr, is the father that was never there. However in his later years, he sees the error of his ways and tries to redeem his earlier mistakes by having an increased presence in his child’s life. This is not just about one boy’s growth but the family as a whole.
Boyhood can become a reflective experience, mostly everyone could tell you a story of having a hard time at school, first time being interested in girls or boys or having that sense of wonder. Boyhood is a fantastic experiment in filmmaking that has created one of the most unique experiences in cinema. This film could be concluded perfectly by one of it’s final lines in the film in that people do not seize moments but moments seize people. In that conclusion Boyhood becomes a personal experience that makes one reflect on their own growth. It is very profound and made me go outside just take a breath of fresh air. I will end this review by quoting the wise Ferris Bueller to cap of this whole experience, ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.’