How do you keep track of your life? With technology these days, it seems that we experience less and less and take digital snapshots of everything we eat, see, hear, and feel. Time is being recorded in short snippets each day. But do all these moments resonate to anyone but ourselves? We cannot forget how we got here. Life and time is not something that can be repeated. We need to pay more attention.
In Richard Linklater’s newest film, BOYHOOD, we are privy to 12 years of not just snapshots but real life moments in time. We not only follow Mason, but his mother, Olivia, father, Mason Sr. and sister, Samantha. 12 entire years of filming one family (and the same actors) through the eyes of a young boy of just 5, into his 18th year. These are the formative years that shape who we are. How we view our mother, father, and siblings forever impacts the choices we make in the future. In Boyhood we are along for moments like family outings, bike rides, first kisses, school, jobs, fights, marriages, both good and bad. These seemingly mundane moments are weaved into a brilliant narrative unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a film until now.
Ellar Coltrane plays Mason. To watch someone grow up in the span of 164 minutes is astounding. You can see the wheels turning in this young man’s eyes right from the most elegant opening shot I’ve seen in cinema all year. His innocence and his openness are incredibly refreshing and honest. Ellar is pure joy on screen. Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, plays Samantha. Funny, touching, and snarky, Lorelei brings a good name to all big sisters out there. Ethan Hawke, a long time collaborator with Richard working on 8 features, including Waking Life, The NewtonBoys, and the exceptional Before Series (Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Before Midnight). His portrayal of young absent father to responsible grownup is quite a trip. He rides a beautiful line between dad and best buddy, guiding Ellar along the journey with a soft touch and some great stories. Patricia Arquette’s performance as Olivia is one to be celebrated. Her character goes through highs and lows so important and grounded and, frankly, often ignored in movies today. This is a real, fleshed out woman. Making mistakes but hoping to God that everything will turn out alright for her kids and for herself. She is the embodiment of so many moms out there trying to make it all work, the best they know how. Truly a breathtaking performance.
With a massive soundtrack that makes you smile and is incredibly thoughtful, Boyhood is a dream. It’s uniqueness should be honored and discussed. I see big things for this film and I hope it is one that a wide audience will embrace. It is a cinematic experience that you live along with the cast. Boyhood is a treasure.
BOYHOOD is in select cities July 11th and nationwide, July 18th.