OKAY, okay, okay.. So I actually saw a screening of this movie this past Sunday, 6/15. but at 166 minutes long, my tail bone was still aching from sitting in old school theatre seats!! and the crick in my neck from craning my neck around the gentleman in front of me is still there…Hence the late review!! 🙂 Oh how we quickly forget how theaters used to be set up and how spoiled we are now!! ha!
I should also note that this movie has a release date of July 18, 2014 but has been released in Europe and is generating word of mouth/reviews from there, most especially from Germany. It also was a last minute entry in this years Sundance Film Festival where you would think the lengthy movie time would deter moviegoers, especially the film festival ones, but it’s done good box office and generated a positive response from Sundance. But let me tell you upfront, this movie requires a big commitment to see it. I went in eyes closed. after only viewing the trailer, which is usually what I do..that and the promise of a Q & A afterwards with Richard Linklater made it all the more enticing. They say hindsight is 20/20 and I will ALWAYS check the running time now as I was not prepared for it.
But if I think the audience has to prepare..it’s nothing in comparison to what an undertaking this movie truly was. It’s the story of “Mason” (Ellar Coltrane) who we meet first at the age of 7 and watch him grow up before our eyes till the age of 18. Literally..it’s played by the same actor throughout the entire movie..as a matter of fact, every single person in this movie from his sister, “Samantha” (Lorelei Linklater) his mom, “Olivia” (Patricia Arquette) Dad, “Mason Sr” (Ethan Hawke) is played from day one and throughout the whole movie..that’s right..the WHOLE 12 YEARS, by the same people. And to watch this and realize what a huge, mind-boggling undertaking this movie was, sitting there watching it, realizing that this was the completely over the top, never been done before, ambitious plan from the beginning..Well, it’s pretty amazing. Each year, over a 12yr. period, the cast made time to shoot this movie. Think about it for a second..they had to not only get acclaimed actors to commit to this, but CHILDREN!! and of course their parents consent, as it would span pretty much the rest of their childhood lives once a year. That could be considered a bit insane or brilliant, whichever way you choose. It was a commitment they all had to make from the very beginning and usually when you hear a director talk about the long process in a Q & A, you shake your head, nod. agree..think wow..6mos..yeah that is long..When you hear Richard Linklater talk about a 12 YEAR process..you realize what ‘long process’ and ‘labour of love’ really means.. Plus to find investors willing to be part of such a venture knowing upfront they will not see a dime for TWELVE YEARS! I know I am repeating myself here, but I can’t help it. As I watched the movie, and I realized the jist of what I was watching, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and being kinda blown away by it.
As for the movie itself, I liked both “Mason” and “Samantha” at the beginning.. They were good kid actors. As time rolled on though, you saw them both roll into the ‘angsty’ teen actor roles and while there were big ups and downs in the movie, you realize how many people come in and out of your lives during childhood, it’s pretty fascinating to think about really. There were so many times that the screen goes dark for a moment and you think it’s over..yet there they are..back again. Sadly, during some of these moments I actually wanted it to end as it seemed fitting and to make it continue didn’t seem right or worth it and made it drag for long points of time. There are some heavy, relevant doses of pop culture that make you identify more with the characters and the movie most of the time, though a lot of will go right over most people’s heads with little references to things like ‘Bright Eyes’ or ‘Dragonball Z’.
For the most part, “Boyhood” almost seems like a documentary more than an actual movie. It connects, but I do think males will definitely identify more with the character as it’s about a boy growing up into a young man and I’m sure most guys have gone through many of the same situations with parents, relationships and situations.
The idea of this movie was simply brilliant to me…the movie itself, much too long and a bit contrived at points. Again, be prepared for a very long stay at the theatre for this one.