In the summer of 2002, back when I was practicing for Marching Band before my freshman year of High School, Richard Linklater started filming “Boyhood”. It is hard to watch this movie without thinking of what has happen to me as a human being in those long, yet so short 12 years.
Filming only a week every summer from 2002-2013, Linklater has made a truly unique masterpiece, one that will be remembered as one of the best movies of the 21st Century. It is certaintly the best of 2014. The only problem I had with the film was that I had to see it downtown Chicago, and had to pay 37 dollars for parking. It was worth it, but I learned my lesson.
The film is so simple in structure, yet complex in its emotionality. It follows the young life of Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) and his family growing up in Texas. Really, that is it. Still, like real life, it is not that simple. He has a standard love-hate relationship with his older sister (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter), he listens to the struggles of his single mom (Patricia Arquette, marvelous and Oscar worthy), and waits for appearance from his dad, Mason Sr. (the always great Ethan Hawke).
“Boyhood” had me nodding in recognition more so than any other film I have seen in some time. There are moments that make this film so true, it is almost like watching a documentary (if it weren’t for familiar faces like Arquette and Hawke, I would have thought it was). At one point Mason is in line for the new Harry Potter book (which I was, and can remember to this day), he is heading to a friend’s house to look at an lingerie magazine, his dad is telling him important life lessons (“You don’t need the bumpers. Life doesn’t give you bumpers.”), and even small stuff you may miss, such as being told no video games at the table (told so many times in my childhood).
Another point that should be brought up is when this was made. It could have been done at any time, but I find it very interesting that it started being made post 9/11 (which Mason Sr. does bring up at one point).
The movie does deserve its R rating (there is swearing throughout), but that does not mean it won’t affect people under 17 (I would say those in High School would be fine seeing it). It is mainly swearing, with some sexual innuendo (the closest we get to nudity is seeing two characters underneath bed sheets waking up. Nothing terrible).
Despite being a “long” movie, it is one you won’t want to end (it was the first film I ever say where I was looking at my watch just to make sure I had more time). The film is not playing everywhere, which is a shame no doubt. I saw this with my little 15 year old brother. When it was over, his response was “Why aren’t movies like this playing closer to us?”
Like the movie said, life does not give us bumpers.
Rating: Five Stars *****