Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Boyhood, 2014
Directed by Richard Linklater

"You don't want bumpers. Life doesn't give you bumpers"

Mason is a young, curious and an inquisitive young boy. He's observant of the world around him, does his homework (but doesn't hand it in because no one asked), and gets into lots of fights with his older sister, Samantha. Samantha is only a little older than Mason, but is starkly different. She's loud and and a troublemaker. Their mother is tired of the life they're living, Single and renting a small house with a job that can barely support the three of them, they move to Houston, so she can go to school and get a better job. And that's when their dad seems to come back into their life. A man without much of a plan (or a career besides aspiring musician), Mason and Samantha find themselves connecting with their father again, much to the chagrin of their mother.

But this is just the beginning of their story. We follow Mason (and his family) for the next 12 years. Flitting into various moments in his life. The movie meanders along, with not much of a story to tell besides the story of a young boy growing up. It's poignant and insightful and always feels incredibly authentic and organic. The film was filmed over a period of 12 years and the same 4 main actors were used for it's entirety, which gives us an amazing progression with the characters, and amazing consistency. Richard Linklater seems to let anything go. We see characters have fluctuations in weight, we see them get braces, their zits aren't covered up and flies aren't swatted away while filming. Everything is embraced about life and how we grow up and it never comes across as forced.

The quote given at the beginning seems to sum up so much of the movie. Life is hard, and nothing comes easy. Mason learns a lot of things the hard way, as does his father, sister and mother. Mason goes through so many progressions and deals with the results of his own mistakes and others. While I couldn't personally relate to a lot of them, I know how true so many of them are. Parents getting remarried, abusive parents, alcoholism, moving to a new city, bad haircuts, peer pressure and teenage breakups. Life is just simply not interesting if it's perfect. What's the point in celebrating a strike if the ball bounced off the bumpers first? Mason is never given a safety net to fall in, and neither are the people around him. Mason handled things in a variety of ways, but was always soaking it in and observing, always taking something away from the incident. Mason sees how imperfect his life is, and we see him wonder about how he'll ever get it all together. And by the end of the movie, we realize nobody really has it altogether. But would life be more exciting or interesting if it had bumpers?

Boyhood is a film that has understated power. At first glance, it's simply a movie about a particular boy's life, and only seems to tell us the semi-interesting stuff. We see him camping with his father, or pillowing fighting with his sister, or going out for Mexican food at 2am with his girlfriend. But what Richard Linklater did was so much more than that. Boyhood is a story about everyone. We all have something we can relate to, and something we can sympathize with. It's a movie that ultimately gets you to reflect on your own "boyhood" (and "girlhood"). I found myself looking back over my own life, or reminded of something that happened to me when I was younger. It's a movie, that while we are looking into the life of someone else, we are unconsciously being asked to tap into our own lives.

Overall, Boyhood was a film I didn't want to leave. I love the mundane, the normal and just life. Peering into someone else's life is just so interesting to me, and this film felt like exactly that. Everyone was so believable in their roles, and  nothing felt overly cliche or forced about the story and where the film went. While I don't know if this film will win Best Picture, it's by far deserving of a nomination, and same goes for Richard Linklater for Director and Patricia Arquette for Supporting Actress. The film was just so consistent in quality and the stories, while "mundane" are so interesting and are just part of life. It's a movie I loved floating in and I know I was sad when it ended (but was glad with where they chose to end it).


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