In his “Before” trilogy, director-writer Richard Linklater showed moviegoers the growth and development of two characters through the span of 18 years. With his latest movie, “Boyhood,” Linkalter managed to replicate that same method in just one magnificent film.
The movie follows the life of a young boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the age of 6 to 18 years old. He has an older sister (Lorelai Linklater, the real-life daughter of the director) whom he fights with occasionally. Their parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) are divorced, as the mother wants to get a real education, while the father just wants to spend sufficient time with his kids.
Some people might say that there isn’t much to the plot of this movie. While they might be right, the point to this movie is not to watch a compelling melodramatic coming-of-age film; it is about experiencing the adolescent life through the eyes of this young boy as he grows up. Linklater, who shot the movie in 39 days over a period of 12 years, avoids the typical clichés of a movie like this whether it dealing with being bullied or experiencing a first kiss. He is more concerned in capturing the small, but intimate moments in this boy’s life.
You could always pinpoint the year the film is taking place by the way Linklater uses cultural reference from the midnight release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” to the evolution of technology like iPhones, Wii and Facebook. These cultural references also set something off in our mind, remembering what we were doing during those years. There is no score in “Boyhood,” but just like the cultural references, there are songs like Coldplay’s “Yellow,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” are indications of which year this film is taking place.
“Boyhood” allows moviegoers to witness Coltrane, who is a revelation in this film, mature from a shy little boy to smart and thoughtful young man right in front of their eyes. Arquette delivers a tremendous performance as a mother who goes on a journey as she experience a series of ups and downs in her own life whether it is financially struggling to support her family or getting an education in order to get herself a stable career.
This ambitious experimental film in the form of “Boyhood” might be Linklater’s masterpiece as he managed to take us on a journey through his main character’s adolescence in a way that no coming-of-age movie has ever done before.
“Boyhood” is now playing at AMC Aventura 24, Coral Gables Art Cinema and Regal South Beach Stadium 18.