Once in a blue moon, a movie comes along that actually dares to be different. Whether it ends up being a great movie or not is uncertain, but at least you can give the filmmakers credit for not following everything else. How many sequels have we had this summer? How many old comic book characters are now in the movies? Well it’s refreshing when a movie like Boyhood comes along, especially right in the middle of a summer of movies that are less imaginative than ever before.
Boyhood is unlike any movie ever made in that it was filmed over 12 years. It focuses on a child named Mason who we literally watch grow up from age 6 to 18 right in front of our eyes. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents who we also watch age on screen as well. Writer/director Richard Linklater (who has turned actors such as Matthew McConaughey into stars) really took a chance on casting the boy who would play Mason for a dozen years of his life. But he lucked out as the child he chose seems to be a natural on screen.
What makes the film feel so natural is that we don’t see any big life-altering events occur, it’s mostly the little things in life that are shown which mold and shape Mason as a person. The movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes in order to allow us to watch the character’s growth and evolution. So it changes years about every 12 minutes or so, but without telling us which lets it feel more natural. It would be odd to see one extreme thing happen after another; it would feel more like a series of vignettes that don’t really go together. Instead, we watch occasional instances of a boy’s life, each time with longer hair or a bit more height. It’s really just like watching someone’s life play out on screen. I’d rather watch the moments that someone goes through in life that I can relate to, as opposed to watching characters with superpowers or cars turning into robots. Hopefully more creative ideas like this will be put to use in Hollywood. And just because it was a different idea didn’t guarantee it would be effective. But thankfully, it’s a good movie with good actors and has become the best reviewed film of the summer so far.