Movie Review: Boyhood
By: Meredith F., Teen Press Corps Member
Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was one of 2014’s most buzzworthy films- and for good reason. Though the flick didn’t necessarily soar in the box office, the critics’ reviews were outstanding and it has already taken awards season by storm, most notably taking home the win for the 2014 Golden Globes’ best motion picture in the drama category.
What sets Boyhood apart from its contenders is the production time frame of 12 years, using the same actors for the roles, thereby highlighting each character’s physical, mental, and emotional growth parallel to that of each actor in real time. Actor Ellar Coltrane was given the main role of Mason at age 5 and continued to play the part through age 18. This aspect in itself is impressive and admirable to any viewer, but this was particularly poignant for me as it seemed to largely reflect my own childhood and coming of age.
Everything from the plot content and the script to the soundtrack felt very personal and relatable to me, being a child born and raised in the 90’s and the new millennium, when the movie was filmed. Small moments (excitement over the latest Harry Potter book release, Blink-182 playing in the background as young boys ogle over an underwear catalogue) remind me of my own simple memories shared with my brother from our early childhoods. Meanwhile, overarching story details, like the parents’ divorce and Mason’s falling in love with photography, resonate deeply with my own similar experiences. Boyhood called me back to various moments of my youth and allowed me to reflect upon these moments growing up, though through someone else’s eyes.
The result of the film is an analysis of each instance that occurs throughout our lives and how they all come to shape our futures and our ultimate beings. This left some viewers feeling unimpressed by the story, claiming it was “stagnant” and “boring” or it “dragged on for too long.” But this is the profoundly captured essence of all of our lives on Earth- we have no plot climax, no rising or falling action. Life has no formula and neither does Boyhood, and this is just what makes it so effective. It challenges our expectations of a film by comparing it to the unpredictable and never methodical nature of life and leaves us questioning not only the way we view movies, or the way we each live our lives, but the way our lives are all interconnected on this earth and the impact we may leave upon one another.