Monday, August 18, 2014

LIFE DOESN'T GIVE YOU BUMPERS:  Good god, yes, you need to see Richard Linklater's Boyhood, a magical, audacious, humanist masterpiece unlike anything I've ever seen.

You know the basics by now, probably: it was filmed over a twelve-year period, starting before Linklater shot School of Rock, and we see a child become a young man while understanding so many of the things which affect his (and his family's) journey: being a child of (and parent in) divorce, the importance of work and discipline, the power of language and culture in shaping our lives, economic insecurity, Texas, everything.

It is powerful stuff; the acting (esp. Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane) is spot-on; the emotional moments (large and small) are well-earned. It's a special movie. See it.


  1. Joseph Finn10:45 AM

    It really, really is for everything Adam says; I also think Lorelai Linklater, who plays Ellar's older sister, deserves some praise. It's her story a bit as well and she delivers quite nicely.

    Also, for my own amusement I noted that Ethan Hawke was divorced, remarried and had three kids, the oldest of whom is now 12, over the course of making the movie.

  2. Jenn C10:49 AM

    I love how they handled the passage of time--things like technology, music that are subtle but really ping that "oh, I know that time!" feeling of recognition.

  3. Nigel from Cameroon11:19 AM

    Also notable is how Ethan Hawke does not seem to age (physically). They had to add the mustache in the latter years, just to try.

  4. Adam B.11:49 AM

    I do kinda wish it were equally her story, and it isn't, but that's okay. And she is great.

  5. Joseph Finn11:57 AM

    I can't find the exact interview, but Linklater did mention that at one point he considered making it from her perspective, before they started, but then decided that would just be too odd what with her being his daughter and being too close to the subject..

  6. Joseph Finn11:58 AM

    But they never hit you over the head with it (but you can age some scenes to within a year based on which Apple tech they have, can't you?)

  7. Joseph Finn11:59 AM

    Though when you think about his first and last appearances, that's 12 years and 20 pounds difference. .

  8. Also, allegedly, at one point, she wanted out, which would have killed the project. And assuming that Garfield Spidey is done, can Coltrane throw his hat in the ring? Because he'd make a FINE Peter Parker.

  9. Joseph Finn12:07 PM

    Linklater said in the AV Club interview that she balked at the Harry Potter release party and just did not want to be involved with that (Daaaaaaaaaaad.)

    And I endorse Coltrane as Peter. He's got a good look for it!

  10. Jenn C12:18 PM

    Yes, it's so nice and subtle. Even in the early years, the aging of the kids comes across as gentle, almost unnoticeable, kind of like how I see my own kids. Hard to believe that years have flown by.

  11. J. Bowman5:54 PM

    Not that we need to say this in the comments, but spoilers ahead:
    I liked how, except for a very few scenes, everything happens from Mason's (and occasionally Sam's) point of view. It captures how jarring every change is for a child, because they didn't see/hear/understand the "off-camera" occurrences that led up to it.
    What was truly impressive about this movie was how easily it made the point that, for the vast majority of us, our lives are a collection of the mundane: riding bikes around our neighborhood, watching our parents argue, random conversations with our bosses, our teachers, kids we hung out with in grade X. Some things stick with us, but mostly, things just happen; it's always right now, to borrow a line. Terrible things occasionally happen, but usually not; teenagers drink and have sex and look at their phones while driving and make it to eighteen alive and childless. There aren't huge serendipitous coincidences where you run into people from your past out of the blue and it's amazing, for the most part, people who drift out of your life don't come back (which made the scene where that did happen that much more affecting). That said, I kind of wanted to find out that the Nicole at the end was the girl from his fourth-grade class that liked his buzzcut.
    My favorite moment, of course, was noting that the clerk in the liquor store also sold Mitch Kramer his first six-pack back in 1976.

  12. Joseph Finn7:32 PM

    Holy crap, it is the same actor as the liquor store clerk. Great pull!

  13. kdbart7:20 AM

    I noticed that too.