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Sunday, December 14, 2014


BOYHOOD (2014)
written & directed by Richard Linklater
[director filmography: Before Midnight (2013), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Before Sunset (2004), School of Rock (2003), Tape (2001), Waking Life (2001), Before Sunrise (1995), Dazed and Confused (1993), Slacker (1991)]

starring Ellar Coltrane [acting debut], Lorelei Linklater [acting debut & the director's daughter], Patricia Arquette [TV series "Medium", True Romance] and Ethan Hawke [The "Before" Trilogy, Training Day, Gattaca]

ENJOYMENT: ***** (out of 5)
"Hands down the best movie of the year & one of the best films of all time"  

As a diehard film lover, this is the film you live to see. It is often easy to be cynical about the future of film, thinking that the best were behind us and that we will never be able to add to the list of all-time greats. Boyhood, however, is the exception to the rule. This film is not only the best film of the year or the best of Richard Linklater's storied career--it is one of the greatest films of all time.

When Boyhood first came out and it had 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and the New York Times called it one the best films ever made, I had my doubts. I thought that maybe it was getting such recognition because of how unassuming it was, or how innovative it was, or that it would be a big cliche. I half-expected it to to tell the story of two young siblings growing into adulthood along with the typical trials and tribulations you see in just about every other coming-of-age movie. However, Boyhood was different (and I should have expected more from Richard Linklater who was already responsible for three of the best films I've ever seen--Before Midnight, Before Sunset & Before Sunrise). The actual premise of the film is reinforced by how the film was shot: Linklater aimed to show a young family growing up over 12 years and thus filmed the movie over a 12 year period. All of the cast, including Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, enter on screen as they were back in 2002. The US had just been attacked on 9/11, Bush was preparing to invade Iraq and the economy was strong. The look and feel take us back in time the way a photo album or home camera only could; there is no way casting or makeup can transport the audience in the way they did. Moreover, this is the first time a feature film has endeavored to tell a story over this long of a time period. As a result, we get an epic masterpiece spanning nearly 3 hours and by the time it is over everyone in the audience is rooting for a sequel. 
In Boyhood, Linklater has turned this family into a family we know, perhaps even similar to our own, who face similar problems with money, jobs, marriage and divorce, raising children the best they can and sometimes just getting by. At times during the film, I was critical of its title because it seemed that this was just as much a movie about motherhood, fatherhood or even girlhood. However, Boyhood does focus mostly on Mason [Ellar Coltrane] and how he navigates life as a child when he does not have any autonomy and he is largely at the whims of his equally confused parents. Then enters Mason as a young adult and he starts to be able to make decisions for himself and ask existential questions in the way his parents did while he was growing up. Some of the parts that I loved the most were those that reminded me of parts of growing up that I had long forgot, like what it was like to observe your family as a young child without being able to intervene much and then what it was like to first fall in love and come home high on pot to suspecting parents. All in all, Boyhood is a film about life. Men and women and people all around the world can relate to this movie because what it is really about is the experience of growing up, coming into adulthood and realizing that you don't know shit about what to do or what will happen next.

OSCAR PREDICTIONS: This film will get nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Supporting Actor Ethan Hawke and Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette. It will win everything but Best Supporting Actor.

Other ratings: IMDB (8.4/10, #85 on Top 250), Rotten Tomatoes (99%)

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