Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boyhood

Boyhood by Richard Linklater
"It's always right now"
Two days ago I went to see Boyhood with my lovely lady Sarah and hip hop'd out sister colleagues Anke and Liselotte. There simply was no getting around the IFC Films product, which won Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival in June. Bald Bryan's praise on The Adam Carolla Show, the movie's 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and, of course, all the talk about director Richard Linklater's stunt concept had really warmed me up to it. A movie that was shot over 11 years? Following one boy's life? This I have to see.

The movie follows 6-year-old Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltraine) and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), who live with their struggling single mother Olivia (Wildflower actress Patricia Arquette) and see very little of their father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). When the family moves to Houston so that Olivia can complete her degree there, Mason Sr. enters te picture again, taking them bowling and going camping with his children whenever he can. When Mason's Mom later marries her professor, Bill (Marco Perella), who has two children of his own, their two families blend. As the marriage fails, Olivia, Mason and Samantha move to Austin, where Olivia teaches psychology at college. Mason is now 15 years old, and he starts taking an interest in photography and girls.

Wow.

Seldom has a movie struck such a chord with me.

Boyhood isn't just a masterful experiment. It's an ingenious and powerful portrait of what growing up is like. How divorces affect kids and families. Having your heart broken and how it's not the end of the world. The genius of Linklater's movie? It's a universal coming-of-age story, with plenty of striking observations and tons of relatable subleties of finding your place in the world and everything that comes with it.

The movie can more or less be divided into three parts:

1. We are the voices of our parents' bad choices


Approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Just like with Mason's Mom and Dad in Boyhood, nothing much spectacular is often the reason. Sometimes people are just at too different points in their lives to make it succeed. Divorce is unfortunate and doesn't make things any easier, but it can definitely work. I really enjoyed how director Richard Linklater gave expression to the children's point of view: witnessing their parents fight and hating it, seeing their Dad every other weekend and him trying his hardest to remain involved, making nice with new partners and their children... It's all very subtle, but it does affect children.

2. Life is a maze, and love is a riddle


Finding your place in the world isn't easy. Still, you are supposed to figure out at a young age who you are and what you want to do with your life. Even with a lot of adults having no clue and just winging it themselves. What is wrong with living in the moment and having the world come to you? I also very much liked how Mason pointed out that with today's ultra-connectedness, nobody is actually having any real experiences. We constantly check our phones when at a restaurant with friends, we take pictures instead of taking in views... Life goes by pretty fast, so you should experience it to the fullest, failures and heartbreaks and all.

3. So long, partner


The ending from Toy Story 3 (which totally makes me tear up every time!) perfectly applies to the last part of Boyhood. Mason has grown up and is readying for college. It hits his Mom pretty hard, as she tells him that death is the last milestone left for her, seemingly having done everything else there is to do. "I just thought there would be more", she says, after which Mason tells her that there's still plenty more left. Sure, he's off to college now, but that's how the world works. No matter how much time passes, he will always be her little boy.

Being both epic and intimate is a difficult thing to accomplish, but Boyhood does it with flying colors. Please do yourself a favor and go see this 165-minute masterpiece.


Oh, by the way, I thought this might be appropriate here:

Boyhood review

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