by Mike Reistetter
“Boyhood,” an indie project produced and funded by IFC Films, was released in select theaters on July 11th this past summer.
Boyhood was shot for one week, once every summer, for twelve years. This creative and unprecedented concept’s purpose was to capture the life of a boy named Mason, as he grows from ages 6 to 18.
The film is a fictional story with a flexible script. Ellar Coltrane, who played Mason, was not reprimanded of his free will and was given permission to live is own life without demands or prohibitions. Which meant as he grew older and began to develop acne, Director Richard Linklater made an effort to not cover it up, as he knew most teenagers would go through acne. He also incorporated the piercings Coltrane acquired and all the different hairstyles he tampered with into the script, which would help mold the direction of which Mason’s life was heading in.
The film also stars Emmy nominee Patricia Arquette (“Medium,” 2005-2011) and Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke (“Training Day,” 2001) as Mason’s mother and father, respectively. And it is a journey equally spent sharing in the growth of a family unit through not just Mason’s, but their eyes as well. It’s a transcendent achievement in creativity that sends you back to when you had the whole world in front of you, when every day’s events could be enriched with both good and bad influences that are trying to lend you the wisdom to make your own convictions and stand by them. We see Mason go through puberty, develop his passion, doubt his own commitment and self-worth, base his actions and relationships with others off of his parents’ guidance and behavior and eventually form his own grip on independency that needed to be reached before he could stop selling himself, and his talent, short.
The ease at which Linklater transitioned from year to year in his story without on-screen text indicators was truly ingenious. The soundtrack was representative of each passing year, inserting songs evident in pop culture from certain years that could inform the viewer what year it was without distracting them from the inter-character dialogue. The abilities of the editing staff, combined with the consistency of the camera work, were equally tremendous and worthy of recognition.
Linklater’s innovation in the literal sense is that he did something no one else could do or would of ever done. He tapped into previously untapped water; a metaphorical sea of emotions and revelations that were deemed too large and far-fetched to fit into the ideal film model without there being fluff or margin for restless audiences.
It should be viewed as a modern day classic, recommended for both the exiting and entering generations whom sadly have not yet been exposed to enough films like this in their lifetimes.