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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Movie Review: Boyhood (2014), and a bit on Richard Linklater

Boyhood (2014)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Elijah Smith
Written By: Richard Linklater
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Release Date: August 15, 2014
Rating: A-

Summary: The life of Pablo, I mean, Mason. 
 
My Thoughts: Richard Linklater, the director of the film and love of my life, is a man of merit and one worth talking about in this review. While this is supposed to be a review of the film itself, Richard Linklater is who makes the film what it is. His directorial and writing style, while simple, are impeccable in the ways in which he reaches the audience and gets his point across. Richard Linklater is not merely an director or writer, he is a philosopher and if you've seen any of his films, you'll know what I'm talking about, but here are some examples featuring Boyhood.

With filming stretched over the course of 12 years, this film is about the life of a young man named Mason as he grows up. It touches on some of the events in his life like moving to a new house or his mother getting a new boyfriend, but nothing to large like other types of coming-of-age movies usually do and that's where Linklater stands apart from other directors. While most movies have rising action, falling action and some sort of climax, there is none here and a lot of people call this a boring film as we're just watching Mason go through everyday life doing the simplest of things that don't seem to hold any weight or consequence. People also say that the characters are flat with no personalities or etc, except for a fantastic Ethan Hawke. But, in my opinion, it is not boring and the characters are a tad flat, only but because they're real. The characters are us as people and it's effectiveness in doing that comes from the characters not being so distinctive and out of the box. And yes, the filim is slow, very, very show and also very long, but there's drama in his life as there is in all of our lives, but even as he ages and the issues and problems seem to either fix themselves or dissolve away, the focus still remains on Mason, who is a bit of a representation of ourselves through his actions and the childhood drama that is going on with him and his family and even though there is that focus on him, there's still this bigger picture and that's the thing that makes so great. 

Linklater focuses a majority of this film on life itself. Scratch that, Linklater focuses a majority of his films on life. Not the big things, the small things and this filim is a celebration of life in itself. It's a celebration of the simplicities in life because we can go through life and we have our own rising actions, climaxes and etc, but we tend to look directly at that and forget the little things, like the enjoyment of waking up in our childhood home, going to school and being with your family. It's breathtakingly intimate and makes you take a look at your own life to think about the things that Mason has gone through that maybe you'd overlooked or forgotten about and that's exactly what Linklater wants you to do. Another important theme going along with the one of childhood nostalgia is also, the passing of time is linear and we literally see him age, but there is no distinct message telling you he's aged. You just see it and we jump from age to age as he hits these simple milestones like going out to a party or going to college and it's not until the end where we really get the message of film and what Linklater is trying to say even though it stops short for me as if it was rushed. I wish there was more, but it would sort of detract from the message if it had been or maybe Linklater got tired of filming because, I mean, it took 12 years.

Linklater, as I've stated before is one of the greatest filmmakers of our film. He's innovative in his techniques like this one where he films the movie with the same actors over the course of 12 years, he's profound in his words and you see that a lot in the dialogue between the characters and the big themes that you see in the film. While this film is probably a bit too long and the ending feels rushed, it's a movie that hits home. It's a movie that, while you probably will only watch once, will stick with you for a long time.

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