Review – Boyhood
You don’t need to be a parent to enjoy the quietly powerful coming-of-age journey of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), directed by Richard Linklater of ‘Before’ series fame. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 99%, I knew I was in for a treat. Boyhood is fraught yet funny, and takes the unique approach of charting 12 actual years of Mason’s life. The same actors play the central characters throughout, including Patricia Arquette as the determined mother and Ethan Hawke as the well-intended father. This film restored my faith in Patricia Arquette’s acting abilities, as she meets domestic violence and consecutive alcoholic husbands with quiet stoicism and equanimity. The soundtrack is charming, with the likes of Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Cat Power and Arcade Fire, and Ethan Hawke surprises with his own musical talent.
The film is truly shot through the child’s eyes, with the viewer looking up at the grown-ups from below. While Mason’s pain at life’s trials and tribulations is felt keenly, this is often as an observer from an eerie distance, as Linklater creates a documentary-like space between the viewer and the characters. This is emphasised with a lack of expected fall-out from certain incidents. Significant events are juxtaposed against everyday moments, which make the film relatable and familiar to all. These snippets reflect real life as, like this film, it is not plot-driven in any capacity other than its chronological passage through time.
Mason’s journey makes you reflect and reminisce on your own childhood. You can’t help but feel the parallels with your own annoying siblings, camping and road trip adventures, and the welling of indescribable warmth and love for your parents mixed with indeterminable frustration. If you need a good hearty dose of nostalgia, see this film.
To be released on Thursday 4 September.