The story of Boyhood is very simple. Starting from the age of 6 all the way up to his move-in day of college, Boyhood tells the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his family. His parents divorced when he is young but his father (Ethan Hawke) is still present in his life. His mother (Patricia Arquette) is the one who raises him along with his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) as we take a 12 year journey of the ups and downs they face.
Directed by Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Bernie), Boyhood is honestly the most unique and special movie I think I’ve ever seen. You know how in movies when there are flashbacks or scenes showing future events, the actors try to either look older or younger depending on the situation? Well, what makes Boyhood so unique is that this movie spans filming over 12 years. As the characters in the movie age, so did the actors! The movie starts out with 6 year old Ellar Coltrane in the back seat of 33 year old Patricia Arquette’s car and it ends with Coltrane being 19 and Arquette 46! I’m sure this kind of thing has been done or tried before, but I can’t think of a situation where the film spans 12 years and does it with 2 young kids.
Taking a look at the movie itself, the story tells the tale of Mason’s life. It really has no purpose or direction except to tell this magnificent journey, because that is exactly what this movie is – a journey. If you don’t already know, this movie is almost 3 hours long. Most of the movies out there that are this long are full of action and special effects to keep the audiences glued to the screen. Unfortunately, Boyhood is mostly dialogue with several dramatic sequences and plenty of beautiful settings of Texas so be prepared for an emotional “epic.” Did I mention this takes place mostly in Houston and Austin? Yeah, right in my backyard since I was born in Houston and raised in Dallas so this movie shows Texas just right.
Boyhood is heartfelt, emotional, real and engaging. I’ve already called it unique and special and I truly believe that. This movie is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before as far as how it was made, yet it is simple in terms of the story it tells. Many of us will be able to relate to situations Mason and his family encounter and I’m sure you will be touched by the outcome. Parents I would strongly recommend showing your mature teenagers this movie has it could have a solid impact on them, but understand this movie is R rated for drugs and language. My only complaint about the film would be about the changes in time periods. Nothing tells us when time changes or how far in the future things movies. Some of the story lines just end as the times change and as an audience we kinds figure out what happened but aren’t 100%. This is just something minor, but I thought it would be cool to have known how much time certain scenes jumped.
At the end of the day, I hesitate to give Boyhood a solid 9 due to its rewatchability and length, but I strongly urge anyone who likes movies about human behavior and psychology to sit down and watch this unique, special journey.
8/10 Stars – One of the most unique and special movies I’ve ever seen. A 12 year (3 hour) journey worth watching!