Review: Boyhood (2014) dir. Richard Linklater

Where to start. If you’re not familiar with the film, Boyhood is one of those films that only comes around every… Oh no wait. There has never ever, ever been a film like this before.

Let me explain. Around 12 years ago, director Richard Linklater commenced on a project that would take until this year to complete. He started to gather actors and unknown child actors to be in his film about a boy growing up, and every year he would go back to those actors and those places and film more and more footage, until recently where I guess they had decided that they were done. And then I predict the editor had a mini meltdown.

Boyhood is one of the best films ever made, never mind 2014 IMO
© 2014 – IFC Films

Freakin’ amazing though, right? You get all kinds of documentaries where kids are born and they are filmed and then a few years later a film crew goes back to see how they’re getting on, but never before has a fictional feature length film been created in this capacity on this scale. It really is a beautiful thing that film makers are creating new and exciting feats in film making (that will hopefully reach the masses) that doesn’t involve 3D or some amazing new technology. It’s just creativity and one really, really good idea. Oh yeah, and the film is actually AWESOME.

As you’ve probably guessed, it’s about a boy. No, not that whimsy Hugh Grant vehicle (I’m so lame), it’s about a boy called Mason of around 5 or 6 years old living in Texas with his sister and his single mother. Every so often we see this boy grow. Mason’s hair cuts are a fantastically different. His mother (Patricia Arquette) goes back to college and the father’s involvement in his life shifts as the years go by. Wrinkles start appearing. Real ones. Apple’s evolution from the laughable days of the iPod mini to the present day iPhone are there. Mason’s graffiti rebellion when he was 6 turns into a love of photography in his late teens. There are links that couldn’t possibly have been planned, and it’s amazing that they work as perfectly as they did. Not even taking the narrative into account, what you’re watching is literally amazing.

Boyhood is one of the best films ever made, never mind 2014 IMO
© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not without its flaws. Mason was sometimes a bit depressing and a bit too much of a downer. He was an emo kid, like myself, that took life for granted, which got annoying when you were trying to immerse yourself in the mystery of life and all that. His mother kept going out or getting married to drunk men which was a bit like “Seriously? She’s a smart woman! Why are you falling for all of these men?!”

And the ending. Hmm. I dunno. I like it, but it bothers me. But how do you finish a film like this? How are you supposed to end it? For every flaw, every niggle and every missed opportunity, you can forgive it all.

So, to sum up: It’s so cheesy to say it, but it’s an epic. An American masterpiece, an innovation, but it’s also very humbling and modest. Should you watch this film? Well, let me ask you this. Do cows eat grass?

5/5

 

 

Boyhood is one of the best films ever made, never mind 2014 IMO
© 2014 – IFC Films

Other films you may enjoy: I haven’t seen them, but Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy consisting of Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013) are supposed to be amazing and if you’re a Patricia Arquette fan, I highly recommend True Romance (1994).

Want MORE?

If you’re a fan of film reviews, you might want to read about why Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2003) is the best in the series, and my close scene analysis of Lost in Translation.

Rebecca

I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

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