The classic coming of age film is as old as movies themselves. With way more misses than hits, it is up to every generation to find their own coming of age film amongst the films that complete for that title. You can’t set out and make that kind of movie, it just organically happens, it is like the stars and planets align and the perfect story comes out of it. Movies like “Stand By Me”, Dazed and Confused”, The Breakfast Club”, and of course “E.T.”. Those are all special movies, but what if you could tell a story about growing up and actually see the growth of that child as years pass? Well writer and director Richard Linklater found a way to do that very thing in “Boyhood”.
Linklater does this by following the life of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to eighteen, not by changing actors, but by filming the same actors for twelve years. Mason lives with his mother (Patricia Arquette) and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) in a town somewhere in Texas. Mason’s and Samantha’s father (Ethan Hawke) only sees them every other weekend, being the cool dad, and taking them to do all things that are fun. We follow Mason, his mother, and Samantha, as they move from Houston, to San Marcos as new jobs are taken, new families are formed, and then broken. All while Mason goes from a boy to a young man.
There really isn’t much to say about the story, because it is life, a life that many of us have experienced. There are many times it felt like watching someone’s home movies more than a fictional story with made up characters in it. To undertake such a plan, the kind that would take twelve years to complete is a marvel in itself. As great as an accomplishment it was to complete the film at all, the greatest achievement is the final film, a coming of age masterpiece. Linklater has a way of writing that connects with his audience in a way few filmmakers can, always seeming to live in the moment, even ending the movie with the like “It’s always right now”. This is a hard film to write about, maybe because there has never been anything like it, or maybe because it can’t be summed it up with just a few words. I know many of you read these reviews to help you make a choice on what movie to go see. Well there is no choice when it comes to “Boyhood” this is the perfect movie for anyone to see. With all the movies that come out every year that all seem to borrow from one another, why not just see a film unlike anything you have seen or will see for a long time. I could go on and on with all the reasons why you should see this film, instead I will just tell you to not miss this film, see the art of filmmaking at its peak, and enjoy a once in a lifetime film.