I may be a couple of weeks late for a review on Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” but after watching that 12-year odyssey play out on screen I can’t go to sleep tonight without putting my thoughts down. Incredible – that’s the first thing that comes to mind – it is one of the best movies I have seen this century, let alone this year, or even this decade (well almost half of it).
“Boyhood” is so many things. It’s a time machine; the film captures details and memories of the last 12 years in America that seem both so long ago and as if some things just happened. We see technology advance, hear the music that dominated the radios, and relieve major events. If people twenty years from now wanted to get a sense of what life was like in the early 21st century, all they would have to do is watch “Boyhood” and they’d have a pretty good idea.
It’s a character study; as an audience we get to watch a young boy grow up, and with that comes many of his mistakes, his successes, his pains, his joys. As each event unfolds we get to see how a ripple grows and expands into something much larger in the life of this young man. It’s not just him either, we see growth in his father as he gains responsibility and learns what it means to be a dad, his mother and her struggle to raise two kids single handily while also trying to achieve other goals to make herself happy. On that note, huge, huge amounts of praise should be thrown at Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette for their performances – the film completely relies on them, because there is essentially no other plot than watching these people grow over 12-years
It’s also art. Film has often been called the art form of the 20th century, though sometimes it may seem hard to believe it with all the stuff that comes to movie theaters every year. This film reaffirms that position. “Boyhood” is as beautifully composed as a painting, it is as striking and detailed as a sculpture, and it is as reflective as a piece of literature.
See this movie, please. Whether you end up as in awe as I am is up in the air, but I promise you the film will strike you positively in one way or another.