Friday, August 01, 2014
What has brought a lot of attention to “Boyhood” is the fact that the director/writer Richard Linklater took 39 days in 12 years to film this picture. He used the same boy, Ellar Coltrane, same girl, Lorelei Link later (yes, the director’s daughter) plus the main adult actors such as Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as Coltrane’s divorced parents. The film is fiction covering a period of time from when Coltrane was 6-7 and Linklater was a couple of years older until we see the latter off at college and Coltrane, at 18, graduating from high school and he too is going off to college. We watch these two children grow into adults, physically, as they did in real life. Whether the same technique was used with Hawke and Arquette is hard to tell as they were/at the age actors don’t change too much physically.
The story is linear as we see Mason (Coltrane) going through life in Texas much as boys have grown all time. Samantha (Linklater) goes through her rebellious period, pink hair anybody?, and we too watch her grow up but the picture concentrates on her brother. Dad (Hawke) and Mom (Arquette) get divorced when the children are young and Mom keeps choosing wrong men though she is smart enough to go back to school, gets her degree and finds an excellent job as a college teacher. Dad goes though a period of not knowing who he is and what he wants and becomes a weekend Dad who spoils the kids and is the ‘fun’ parent while Mom is the stern, disciplining one. There is no doubt that both parents love their children.
It has been two hours since I left this film that is 2 hours and 40 minutes long and I still don’t know whether I like it or not but I am still thinking about it. Hawke and Arquette are as professional and good as you would expect with Hawke giving one of his best performances on film. None of the supporting cast makes a false step. It is watching Coltrane and Linklater as they grow that is spellbinding and the director took a chance not knowing if they could act expressing their changes over 12 years but he certainly can be proud of his daughter’s performance and Coltrane is a natural actor.
I think parents who have had teenagers, and watched them grow, will appreciate this movie more than a childless person but the latter will find this movie different from the run of movies about teenagers and the evolution of Samantha and Mason from children to adults.
This is a work director/screenplay writer Rivhard Linklater should be proud of and will be very involved with awards time.