The Movie Review: ‘Boyhood’

What they say about childhood coming and going in a heartbeat is very true. It’s a moment of time that feels like an eternity when you’re ten years old yet feels like a second when you’re thirty. Anyone can agree that when you get older, time feels like it’s moving faster.

So why is it that time goes much slower in childhood? I think it has to do with the way we learn things. Think about the first time you learned math. It’s easy now to figure out what five plus four is; something like that we can figure out in a second. But go back to when you were learning addition for the first time.

When we take on a new challenge, it’s going to naturally take time to figure it out. Counting was a challenge at some point, but you eventually adapt to counting and it becomes a part of daily life. As we go up to the next level of mathematics, were so focused on learning division, fractions and algebra that we aren’t challenged by something like addition anymore. We don’t even think about it; it’s just something we now simply do.

The challenges of childhood feel fleeting and momentary to us now rather than eternal because the things we learned then were basic and don’t provide as much challenge in adulthood, giving us less time to ponder. Boyhood examines much of the basic ideals that that make us people.

The simple idea behind this movie is that we follow one child from age seven through eighteen. It’s not a documentary, but a fictional look from director Richard Linklater (School of Rock) who spent twelve years going back once a year to film more footage until the child had grown up. The idea is very ambitious and what most people want to know is whether it was worth the wait.

Boyhood is not a complex artsy exploration of the state of childhood nor does it even have a complex story. It’s simply about a boy named Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) who goes through childhood along with his parents (played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) and sister Samantha (played by Lorelei Linklater). Stepparents, new schools, love and life fall into place as we become witnesses to Mason’s journey into adulthood. That’s it.

Watching someone’s life on cinema is nothing new, but to see it done this extensively is impressive and is something I haven’t seen before. Had it been done with various child actors, it would have not been as interesting. But watching young Mason going through life’s troubles and mankind’s flaws make me realize just how precious time really is. It helps that young actor Ellar Coltrane is just a force to look at. Watching him growing up is like watching my own child grow up. We get to see what kind of kid he was and go with him as we learn from his mistakes and his passion for photography bloom into an art.

Mason dosen’t have much of a personality until the second half of Boyhood, but in a way, he’s not supposed to. He’s the everyman that reacts off of the decisions of his family and environment. This allows for his ideology and thoughts to create his personality later on.

Both Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke add much to a movie that needs great performances from everyone to make this situation work. Boyhood works because it all feels natural. There’s no “sudden heart attack/car accident/lottery win that changes everything” scenario and I’m glad. This movie is a prime example of “the stones that fall into place.”

I’ll give this five photos of urban art out of five. Boyhood needs to be seen not just by adults but teens as well. This is definitely my favorite movie of 2014 so far.

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