Boyhood has etched itself into cinematic history with its authentically awkward, honest and raw storytelling of what it means for a young boy to come of age while his parents are trying to grow up too. Director Richard Linklater dismissed film standards of production and narrative by filming Boyhood over a 12-year period to give audiences an indescribably beautiful and profound sense of attachment to each character. In addition, he did something no sane filmmaker would agree to do.
In 2002, Linkwater began filming the Texan family drama, which followed seven-year-old Mason Jr. (newcomer Ellar Coltrane), his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and their divorced parents Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). From 2002 until 2013 Linkwater filmed the family and accompanying cast intermittently in a chapter format that seamlessly flowed from one stage of life into the next. Coltrane transformed before the audience from a quick witted 7-year-old boy, into a tween adjusting to his new found deep voice and disheveled greasy hair and finally into a confident young man.
The film begins with Olivia moving her children out their childhood home to return to university and provide her children with the life she always wanted for them. As it turned out, Olivia was learning a lot more than psychology as she quickly began to date one of her professors. With Mason Sr. still stuck in his twenties, his two-door classic car and trail of odd jobs cause Olivia to gravitate toward any sign of stability. However, Olivia and the audience quickly learn that stability is an easy mask to wear and you may be terrified of what is lying underneath.
Mason Jr.’s ability to grapple with his incessant feelings of otherness, passion for photography and tumultuous home life is both inspiring and heartbreaking. This depiction of American life is painstakingly accurate and relatable for any audience member, regardless of his or her own family dynamic. Coltrane truly captured the innocence of Mason Jr. while adding an underlying sense of maturity that often comes to children who stray from the crowd and follow the road less travelled.
Linklater has outdone himself with this one of a kind film that will be remembered for its alluring plot and brilliant 12-year long filmography. Boyhood comes to Canadian theatres on July 25th and it is undeniably a must-see movie for summer 2014; We can hear the Oscar buzz already.