On “Boyhood”

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You’ve probably heard about the excellent reviews that “Boyhood”, the new film by Richard Linklater, is getting. It’s scoring 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and, in the words of the critics:

“An extraordinarily intimate portrait of a life unfolding and an exceptional, unconventional film.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[Linklater] captures moments in time and relinquishes them as he moves from year to year. He isn’t fighting time but embracing it in all its glorious and agonizingly fleeting beauty.” (The New York Times)

“Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age tale is the best movie of the year, a four-star game-changer that earns its place in the cultural time capsule.” (Rollling Stone)

Joe and I saw Boyhood last night at our neighbourhood theatre, Cinema 21, with a packed audience. I’m a fan of Linklater’s work, especially the “Before” Trilogy with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Boyhood was filmed in 39 days over a 12-year period, capturing the evolution of a family with divorced parents through the perspective of a boy, who is 6 when the film starts and 18 when it ends. It takes place in Texas and stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as parents Olivia and Mason, and Lorelei Linklater (who is the writer/director’s daughter) and Ellar Coltrane as kids Samantha and Mason Jr.

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As expected, Boyhood was absorbing, moving, funny, and beautiful to watch, with the kind of insightful, complex dialogue you actually hear in real life. My favourite scenes were the ones with Ethan Hawke, who portrays so well the conflict of a father who only sees his children every other weekend, but tries to pack in as much wisdom (such as why there is no ‘best Beatle’, and how whales are as magic as elves) and fun as he can every two-day visit.

I found myself hoping the parents would get back together at some point, which I guess stems from the same romantic part of me that cried my eyes out teared up while watching ‘Before Sunset” alone in a Victoria theatre a decade ago. (That was the first time I’d ever gone to a movie by myself. Lesson learned—romantic movies are not meant to be seen alone!)

Have you seen Boyhood? What did you think?

ps. The New York Times review of Boyhood and a Slate interview with Richard Linklater

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2 responses

  1. Haven’t seen it yet but really looking forward to it!! Also want to see the last film Philip Seymour Hoffman made, A Most Wanted Man. Such a damned tragedy, his loss.

    xoo eve

    • Hi Eve, I hear you–Philip Seymour Hoffman was my favourite actor. I was so saddened when he passed. I will definitely plan to see this film, thanks for letting me know about it. (ps. I am reading your book right now. It’s so engaging and beautifully written.) xo

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