Boyhood (2014)

by Mitch Burns

Courtesy of IFC Films
Courtesy of IFC Films

Directed By: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, and Lorelei Linklater

6 Oscar Nominations:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Film Editing
  • Writing – Original Screenplay
  • Actor in a Supporting role, Ethan Hawke.
  • Actress in a Supporting Role, Patricia Arquette

The third film in my “Reviewing the Oscar Nominees” is Boyhood. If you don’t know the story, in 2002 director Richard Linklater embarked on a new project, a story about a family, filmed over the course of 12 years. The entire cast and crew were brought back together every year, for 12 years, to film one portion of this families life.

Boyhood tells the story of a family of four, but sets its main focus on the son, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who is 6 years old when the film begins in 2002. Mason receives the most screen time (hence the title) but his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) is on screen only a fraction less than Mason. Mason and Samantha’s parents are divorced, the kids live with their mother (Patricia Arquette), and have a distant relationship with their father (Ethan Hawke).

I’d rather not give much in terms of plot, not that the film is plot heavy, the story is more of a means to encapsulate it’s themes of growing up, parenthood, girlhood, boyhood and life. If you are a parent, a son, a daughter, or you’ve grown up, I think you will get something out of this movie, which is to suggest anyone would.

The film resonated with me very deeply, swept away and sucked in, I was a directors ideal movie-goer in that screening. I might say it has to do with my bias of having gone through boyhood, but I look to the overall praise the film is receiving and I know I can’t be alone. The film has something for all.

When you choose an actor at the age of 7 years old, it might be worry any director as to what kind of performance you can get from a 7 year old kid, and what kind of actor they will turn into. While many have found Ellar Coltrane to leave something to be desired, I think he portrayed what it’s like to grow up in the era he did. Coltrane came across as a completely typical and believable boy/young adult, and near the end really conveyed feelings of apprehension for the future and wonderment

Richard Linklater cast his own daughter, Lorelei Linklater, in the role of Samantha, casting a family member is a risk, let alone your daughter. Lorelei has said the at one point over the course of filming she asked her dad to kill off her character, as she didn’t want to do it anymore. Eventually she climbed back on board, and gave a great performance.

The best performances in the film come from Arquette and Hawke, both actors putting in 100%. For an actor, it must be great to have 12 years to really build a character, and they both do just that. Arquette gives a restrained, sobering performance, one that will remind many of their own mother.

The films score doesn’t exactly standout, it’s the films soundtrack that gives some added color, From the opening use of Coldplay’s “Yellow” to the films unofficial anthem, “Hero” by Family of the Year.

Boyhood is a tremendous achievement, a million and a half things could have gone wrong with this film and they didn’t. Boyhood caused me to reminisce on my own journey through life, it affected me in a most overwhelming fashion. It takes a true artist to do something as profound as Linklater has done here.

Grade: A+

Thanks for Reading!

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4 thoughts on “Reviewing The Oscar Nominees: Boyhood

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