Richard Linklater’s (director) been working on his passion project, ‘Boyhood’, for over a decade . . . and you can tell.
Following a unique 12-year production schedule, that involved calling in the key cast members for a few days filming every summer, the film follows Mason (Ellar Coltrane) through his journey to adulthood.
Drawing more from the actors’ personal circumstances than Linklater’s basic ‘plot’ outline, the whole piece rings with an unparalleled sense of realism. It’s almost disarming watching Mason’s family acting so normally and that’s a viewing experience few have matched, or even attempted.
Understandably, the format does have some intrinsic issues and it places a great deal of weight on the minimal shoulders of the child actors. It must be said, there were years when Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater, who plays his sister in the film, seemed slightly less interested in the whole thing.
But, I came to realise, those years lined up pretty accurately with the stereotypically muted/arsey/grating years of childhood. And, until someone shoots a movie like this again (if that ever happens), we’re going to be lucky to get anything as ‘true’ as Boyhood.
As a result, watching Boyhood is going to be a unique experience for every audience member. And, personally, I got more from the teenage years (hardly surprising seeing as I’m the same age as Mason when we finally leave his life).
To be honest, a number of Nostradamus-esque pop-culture prophesies are worth the price of entry alone; especially, a glorious Star Wars sequel conversation.
In the end, Boyhood is miraculous for it’s lack of miracles. There’s absolutely no sense of tampering, or even intrusion, we are merely left watching a family’s life unfold in front of us. The mundane has never been so engaging.