Friday, July 18, 2014

Boyhood Review - 4 Stars

Director Richard Linklater — one of the most creative filmmakers of our time — sets the bar for the coming of age movie.  In “Boyhood” he presents a series of scenes filmed over a twelve year period that allow us to literally watch Ellar Coltrane as Mason grow from age six to age eighteen:  boyhood to young adulthood.  Within this framework, Linklater gives us a window on contemporary life:  divorce, adult failings, sibling rivalry, education, and the mystery of finding yourself in an increasingly complicated world.  The story centers on single mom Patricia Arquette, raising her son and daughter as a single mom.  Ex husband Ethan Hawke returns to Texas from Alaska intending to re-establish his role as a drop-in dad.   Arquette marries and divorces a series of flawed men.  The family uproots and moves several times.    Mason makes new friends and loses old ones. Along the way, Arquette finds her way to a better life and Hawke matures and starts a new life with room enough to include all.  “Boyhood” showcases small moments and allows us to fill in the blanks on the big ones:  learning to drive, kissing a girl, sorting good advice from bad.  I feel like the actors improvised a lot of the dialog which is another way of saying “Boyhood” has a naturalness missing from most films.  It leaves me wanting more and hoping Linklater continues this project.  As a viewer I’m invested in Eller Coltrane aka Mason and I hope things turn out well for him.  Does it deliver what it promises?  One of the year’s most profound films.  Is it entertaining?  Fascinating.  Is it worth the price of admission?  A must see for this year and many years to come.