We all know how the movie industry works these days. Concept is key. And concept doesn’t come much bigger or more impressive than Richard Linklater’s twelve year odyssey to make his latest movie Boyhood. Filming the same set of actors for a short period every year since the summer of 2002 (including child actors Ellar Coltrane and Linklater’s daughter Lorelei) the Texan-born director has managed to bring to life a wonderfully realistic portrait of growing up in modern American, offering up a visual diary for the agonies and ecstasies of the youth of today .
This then was obviously a project made with true heart.
And it’s not a surprise that the resulting film… is a triumph. Seriously. It’s groundbreaking and emotional in equal measure; a patchwork quilt made up of familiar landscapes and faces.
But what might shock you is that leaving all that innovation and originality aside, and maybe this is just me … it turns out that it’s actually the small almost inconsequential moments that pop up on screen that leave the most striking legacy once the credits roll. Just a series of tiny unpredictable scenes that burn their way into your memory more so even than the obvious aging of the characters in front of our eyes.
So if you do take the plunge and give the movie a chance on the big screen, please watch out for these couple of scenes which are absolute dynamite to watch…
• The beginning; welcome to the madhouse. Our introduction to the family opens with Mason’s sister Samantha waking him up in their shared room by singing Britney Spears quite loudly and with a conviction that just has to be admired. Despite having a pillow thrown at her face mid-performance she continues on with her routine regardless of her brother’s fairly open exasperation. To anyone who has a sibling you’ll know what’s coming. And it’s awesome.
• Witness a teenage Mason’s absolute despair when he realises that his somewhat unreliable father (Ethan Hunt) has sold his old car in an effort to be a proper family man, despite the promise that his son could have it once he turned sixteen. The disappointment in Coltrane’s eyes, so familiar from his previous interactions with his dad is truly shattering.
• The question. You’ll know the one. When Patricia Arquette finally manages to break free from her marriage to an abusive drunk and after the violence gets too much drags her kids from their family home, they end up staying with a friend of hers. And once the adrenaline has worn off, Samantha sits down at the dinner table across from her mum and asks her exactly what we the viewer had all been wondering. What about their stepbrother and stepsister? How can they just leave them there to face Bill’s rage? Arquette’s response however truthful it might be is guaranteed to send a shiver right up your spine.
• “I thought there would be more.” Another Arquette blinder.
• And finally a happy moment –namely Mason, Samantha, their father and his new family all hanging out on the porch singing along to a sweet melodic song pieced together by their father with the remnants of his dreams of being a musician. The fact that they all know the lyrics to the song combined with the obvious joy on the characters faces gives the scene an intimacy above and beyond all expectation. And while it may be schmaltzy, you know what- sometimes families are. We all know it. And we all kind of love it too.
So there you have it- my five classic moments in Boyhood. And yes, I know, I know. Some of you will hate the movie. You’ll call it gimmicky. And tedious. Or middle class. Lacklustre. And everyone’s entitled to their own opinion of course. But after watching this I’m not ashamed to say that I came out the cinema with a smile on my face and a mind whirling with my own memories of growing up. And that…for me at least, makes the film an absolute success.