Boy To Man
By Adam Sturrock
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke
Looking back on things can be often overlooked. Watching those same, familiar eyes fixed inside a smaller, more inquisitive brain in a scrapbook photo can be both jarring and welcoming. It allows us to look back and reflect, thinking, “Where have all of these years gone?” and smiling as we don’t quite know the answer.
Boyhood isn’t quite a film, it’s more of a two-way mirror allowing us to see a boy slowly developing into a man and realising that somewhere along the line, we grew up too. I remember being annoyed by my brother and failing to understand him when I was younger, we threw kicks and punches and then all of a sudden I was watching him rapidly disappear as I was driven away on route to University. Listening to the film’s soundtrack was bizarre. Each song, brought a childhood memory – even Soulja Boy, goddammit. Boyhood isn’t a story of one boy it’s the same story so many of us have lived.
If this project landed in the hands of any other director, details would have been lost, small but vital things would have slipped through the cracks , but with Richard Linklater, patience prevails in every moment. He has developed this reputation for creating realistic relationships. The skill he showcased in past films like the “Before-trilogy” continues in Boyhood. What we notice throughout the film is that rather than point out in what year each scene is filmed, we watch little nuances in behaviour and appearance; in one scene we see little Mason (Coltrane) with sweeping long hair hanging into his face then suddenly it’s shaved in the next. Timeframes seem fluid and sift through our fingers without noticing, no matter how hard we try, it continues at this uneven pace of stops and starts.
As I said , Boyhood isn’t about one kid, it’s about everyone associated. From the young mother, Olivia (Arquette) to disillusioned father, Mason Sr (Hawke), to ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater); they all developed and grew along with the beating drum of time. The uneducated become scholars and teachers, the kids in his childhood smoke pot or get drunk, from soldiers to fathers and mothers to divorcees – time waits for no one.
Boyhood isn’t a film in the sense that the script doesn’t say anything profound, nothing revelatory but is instead a chronicle of life, from young to old and that is what makes it beautiful to watch.