Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
It can be said with confidence that Boyhood is in contention this early in Awards Season for at least three Oscars: Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Director (Richard Linklater) and Best Picture.
And so the question arises: why will it be nominated? The answer is extent, as well as multifaceted, so let us dive into the depths of reason without further hesitation.
Boyhood began as a passion project the likes of which only Richard Linklater could undertake. Similar to his Before Series, it spans a number of years, but unlike the aforementioned Trilogy, Boyhood is a solo feature. One that was filmed over 12 years, with the lead Character and his immediate Family being portrayed by the same Actors throughout, thus affording its Audience with the means to witness a Boy grow into a Man. Relative unknown Ellar Coltrane plays the Boy, Mason, with Patricia Arquette acting as his Mother, Ethan Hawke his Father, and Lorelei Linklater his Sister, Samantha.
From the onset it is apparent that Mason is a Dreamer. With his head in the clouds he is considered a Social Misfit as the years go by. And go by they do. Filmed as a series of Shorts, seminal moments are offered to give insight into what is going on annually. As a Child, Mason loses himself in Anime and Video Games while his Mother struggles with love and money. As an Adolescent, Mason loses himself in Photography and Girls while his mother still struggles with the same. His older Sister gives him a hard time consistently, his Father opens up to him progressively, and his Mother loves him with the intensity that only a Mother could.
Therefore, Mason represents a limited view on Boyhood, but with that said his view is more expansive than any previous cinematic attempt. Though he is a white middle-class American Male, his journey is Telemachian in tone, and Tolstoyan in scope. In other words, it is a coming of age story that takes time to tell.
And it is told beautifully, poetically, and photographically. Picturesque from the opening frame to closing fade, the Film procures an eye opening view. Intimate at every stage, Boyhood can make you laugh, cry, and consider your Childhood anew.
Words fail at summing up the qualities of an artistic endeavor such as Boyhood, and in time the awards may fail to fall into Linklater’s lap. Alas, he has not failed at creating something truly timeless, and he must be thanked at this time for taking his time to make it. In turn, take the time to see it, and enjoy every last moment. It seems impossible not to.
Mongrel Media release BOYHOOD on Friday, July 18, 2014.