I’m still catching up on the films that I’ve been wanting to watch for quite some time but that for whatever reason I didn’t come around to. I know, it’s only an investment of two hours or so, if you watch at home, but that means that I do have to schedule two hours of uninterrupted time. And I find it easier to grab a book.
Boyhood is easily one of the most original films of the decade if not of all time. It follows Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, as he grows up from age five to 18, from his first days at primary school to moving to college. Director Richard Linklater shot one episode every year. And so we see Mason, his sister Samantha, played by Linklater’s daughter Lorelei, and his parents, played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, age as the years pass by.
Boyhood is extraordinary in its ordinariness. I’ve been so conditioned by watching films that throughout the film I was expecting something terrible to happen. But the worst that happens is a divorce and an abusive stepfather. Not that that isn’t terrible enough in the life of a child. But there are no car crashes, no chases and no murders.
Speaking of ordinariness, at some point Mason’s father changes his vintage sports car for a boring mini-van and on a visit to the Christian parents of his father’s second wife Mason is given a bible and a gun as a birthday present. But rest assured, the gun doesn’t go off.
So much could have gone wrong during the filming. The production required a long-term commitment from the cast and this alone demands admiration. Above all Boyhood is a wonderful, moving coming-of-age story. It made me feel nostalgic for my own childhood and adolescence.
At some point in the film one of his teachers asks Mason, by then an aspiring photographer, who he wants to be, what he wants to do with his life. The question is directed to Mason, but also to the viewer. Watch this movie, if you haven't already, and think about your childhood dreams and what became of them. It's never too late.