FilmReview

Review: “Boyhood” is an Extraordinary Film about an Ordinary Boy

James Canellos’ ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood. Photo Credit: Matt Lankes/IFC Films.
Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood. Photo Credit: Matt Lankes/IFC Films.

Richard Linklater picked up a camera and started filming a boy in 2002. This project continued once a year until 2013, but now Linklater’s boy has transformed into a man and together the pair have crafted one of the most honest and realistic coming-of-age films ever made. The boy who grows up right before our eyes is Texas native Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a shaggy haired, blue-eyed child who doesn’t even realize how fast his life is passing by as he just begins to scratch the surface of adulthood. Casting a child actor to take on such a task of remaining interested and invested in a project like this for twelve years is a miracle in itself. Ironically, Mason is a big Harry Potter fan, a franchise that also relied very heavily on its child stars’ commitment and growth as actors. Coltrane can be compared to a fine wine, literally getting better with age as the years progress. Each year of Mason’s timeline is filmed as a 10-15 minute snippet of his transition from boy to man. From five years old, Mason is forced to tag along with his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) as their mother (Patricia Arquette) moves all over and goes through boyfriends like she does hairstyles. Their father (Ethan Hawke), on the other hand, is still learning how to mature from a fun-loving young man to an adult. Arquette and Hawke are excellent, proving to be two of the most convincing parents portrayed on screen in some time. Like their on-screen son, they are both trying to develop as human beings and grow into better people- and we get the chance to witness them doing so.

Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood. Photo Credit: Matt Lankes/IFC Films.
Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood. Photo Credit: Matt Lankes/IFC Films.

This film could easily be called Throwback: The Motion Picture;  if you were born in the mid-90’s, Boyhood will hit pretty close to home. If Mason playing the same games and referencing the same movies you loved in a certain year doesn’t give you an idea of how far you have come as a person no other film will. It is never blatantly revealed what year it is to the audience, but the amazing soundtrack helps transport you back to that youth which makes Boyhood feel less like a film at times and more like an emotional time capsule. Linklater wisely decides to not make Mason’s life exceedingly dramatic or even that exciting of a journey, but altogether incredibly relatable and nostalgic. The director realizes that sometimes the most influential moments in our lives are the ones we take for granted, that fly over our heads. Boyhood is such an ordinary movie, but that is what makes it so extraordinary. Overall Grade: A+

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