Saturday, January 31, 2015


Movie Name: Boyhood
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard, Andrew Villareal, Zoe Graham, Jessi Mechler, Taylor Weaver, Bill Wise
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Prolific director Richard Linklater is back, after his critically acclaimed "Before Midnight". "Boyhood" has the distinction of being a film he shot for 12 years, starting production in 2002. The film follows the story of Mason, a young boy in Texas, who lives in a small apartment with his mom and sister. His parents are divorced, and the children rarely see the father since he has random jobs in different locations. The film follows Mason as his mom moves them to other cities, in pursuit of her goals, of finishing college, teaching, all the while getting married with two different men, both of whom share drinking problems. Mason's life is chronicled until he leaves for college.
"Boyhood" is an interesting yet flawed proposition: it's not documental enough to be a documentary that traces the life of a young child throughout the years, and as a narrative feature, it fails to engage and create a sense of momentum and character development. Both children in the family are viewed in particular snapshots in specific moments in life, and yet, there's never a real sense of what true family life is for these young people. Richard Linklater's most successful films are traditionally the ones where he eschews a proper narrative format, and imbues the story with a sense of reality that gives the viewer a closer proximity to the characters. The problem with "Boyhood" lies in the fact that it's never a document of a life, nor narratively speaking, has a dramatic momentum occurring (the failed marriages of Patricia Arquette's life are the brief peaks where some tension or dramatic confrontation occurs). The proposition of following the life of people throughout the years, has been approached by Michael Apted with his "7 Up" since 1964, where every 7 years the camera explores the lives of 14 people from different social backgrounds, and that indeed has been an ambitious and rewarding view. "Boyhood" feels anchored in a ploy that for all its potential interest, never really registers with a fully constructed story. The film features a good performance from the underrated Patricia Arquette. An overrated exercise from an irregular director.