"Boyhood", is a narrative that views like a docudrama. Containing part reality, 'Boyhood' is the account of a young boys life over a twelve year period. Starting at six years of age, we watch Madison's journey throughout his developmental years going through the trials and tribulations fairly reflective of many young people over the last decade.
Here is the clincher- the unknowing movie goer at first may be remarkably impressed with how well the casting director furnished actors who looked so much like the previous actors portraying each consecutive age. As the children grow older, particularly the characters of the boy, Madison (played by Ellar Coltrane) and his sister Samantha ( played by Lorelei Linklater), the resemblance in each age of growth is uncanny. Remarkable indeed until you realize either through the credits or you had prior knowledge that the primary cast are all the same people filmed over a twelve year period.
Director-Writer-Producer Richard Linklater, follows his traditional style of capturing situations in a chronological time capsule. In his earlier films, "Dazed and Confused", "Before Midnight", "After Sunset", "Before Sunrise", he seems to use time, intimacy and communication to observe and resolve some of the tougher issues within relationships. These films show us examples of how we deal with life and problem resolution while the minutes, often seconds, pass. "Boyhood", chronicling twelve years , is about three hours long.
In "Boyhood" we watch the chapters of growth and experiences of what could be any one of us growing up in our current society. While watching this family, headed by a single mom, (played by Patricia Arquette) with frequent input of birth father, ( played by Ethan Hawke) and constant overseer grandmother, (played by Libby Villari), we get a moving, poignant glimpse towards understanding our humanity and social evolution of today. The direction of this narrative appears to be- learning through the witnessing and observation of a real person whose experiences are tailored to represent parallels of our current social status. No spoiler alert needed in saying upfront that despite all, the kids are alright, to coin a phrase.
Even though "Boyhood"is a moving testimonial, perhaps manipulated slightly in the telling, it is a very fair representation of a great number of current youths and a prime example of many American families today. It may also raise the question of how family life has changed in recent decades. Prior to the late sixties, most married couples did not consider divorce as an option. Married couples clung together through all the many conditions marriage and the rearing of children confronted them with. Today personal happiness and harmonious unions for as long as it last may be the standard.
"Boyhood" is a monumental and successful accomplishment whose roots lay in the examination of how we develop and survive the ever changing dynamics of today's family life. Young adults, like Madison and his sister Samantha, foreshadow what the future may hold. One thing seems to be for sure, life and our affinity for one another will continue to evolve and renew itself.
Rater PG for language and teenage sexual subjects
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater