D: Richard Linklater
IFC (Richard Linklater & Cathleen Sutherland)
USA 🇺🇸 2014
W: Richard Linklater
DP: Lee Daniel & Shane Kelly
Ed: Sandra Adair
Ellar Coltrane (Mason Evans, Jr.), Lorelei Linklater (Samantha Evans), Patricia Arquette (Olivia Evans), Ethan Hawke (Mason Evans, Jr.)
From an artistic point of view, Boyhood stretches the boundaries of conventional filmmaking which writer/director/co-producer Richard Linklater deserves full credit for.
Filmed over a period of 12 years, the story is a simple coming-of-age tale of a boy's life from the ages of 5 through to 18, covering the usual issues a child encounters during that time in their life. Raised by a single mother, regular excursions with the estranged father, coping with an older sister, school, birthdays, bullying, puberty, an abusive stepfather, etc.
With each year of the boy's life covered in average of 14-15 minutes, the film is essentially a series of short films and home video style moments which bring an air of realism whilst the performances and dialogue are incredibly realistic. It also has to be said that it's a piece of movie magic to see all the characters physically age throughout the running time without the assistance of fancy makeup or prosthetics, not only of the young stars but also for the on-screen parents Ethan Hawke & Patricia Arquette.
There are a few minor gripes with the film, but not enough to make it unenjoyable. The main one is that it doesn't really deal with any issues that it brings up, it only skirts over the periphery of them. Another is that it doesn't really possess any nostalgic value. It's all set over the years post-2001, so if your childhood was prior, you won't generally share the same views or experiences as the main character & will sympathise more with the parents characters especially for viewers who are indeed parents, unfortunately, Arquette & Hawke aren't in the film as much as you'd like them to be. It's not their film though, it's Ellar Coltrane who you watch growing up before your very eyes, hammering home how quickly children grow up and how, indeed, time and moments can pass in the blink of an eye.
Richard Linklater used a similar style of filmmaking with Before Sunrise, Before Sunset & Before Midnight, a trilogy of films about the development of a relationship over three decades.
Still, Boyhood is an admirable filmmaking experience which provided an arduous, lengthy task for its cast and crew and fully deserved all the praise it received.