The Movie: 9/10
Gimmick. There I got that out-of-the-way. A film that’s made over a 12 year period with the same cast aging year by year is a way to tell the story of a boy growing up that much more interesting. I do find it a big hook, I mean of course it is, but it works. Linklater, the director/writer, had a vision to tell this story and he made a film that doesn’t just accomplish that, but it shines a light on growing up in a way no movie has ever done for me.
The same cast means the same cast, that’s right, year to year as the characters move through time we see in a split second what these people look like without make up, without CGI, without tricks. Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke age along with the kids and it’s fascinating. I know people age and we do see them through their career. You can watch True Romance and then turn on The Medium to see Patricia age, but it’s not the same as what happens in Boyhood. I know I’m talking an awful lot about this aspect of the film, but it’s pivotal to what it is as a cinematic artwork.
All that is said and done, so now on to the actual story and performances. This is a coming of age story, pretty straight forward. It’s a boy observing his mother’s choices from marriages to education and parenting style. We are not presented with the biggest moments, but often the end result or consequences of those moments, which makes it more engrossing to me.
The performances are all pretty much on the whole time. There are a few bits and pieces that seem a bit overly “winging it” but they don’t dominate and do not bring the movie down.
One of my favorite scenes is Arquette as she sees her son off to college. It’s poignant and very meaningful to any of us who have a mother who had a similar realization at that point of our lives. It gave me a different perspective on that fraction of time, her perspective.
The calm demeanor of our leading boy/young man tells us a lot about his future, or so it seems. He’s not of the same forced track we see other men living on. Their choices take them down those tracks to ends that our young man sees and learns from to become his own person. There are really bad choices made by the men in this movie, which reflects a certain point of view. Remember, this was written and directed by a man:)
Overall I really enjoyed the gimmick of the whole thing, BUT not as much as I enjoyed the journey of the characters. The father is a certain kind of dude who we get to know very quickly and as the years move along he might resist the same track that the other men are steaming down, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to that boring middle aged man life that seems inevitable. It makes you hope upon hope that the boy who’s living this boyhood knows better than to be trapped by it all.
- The 12 Year Project (19 Minutes) – A short making of featurette that takes you through he 12 years it took to make the movie. This featurette is almost like a mini version of the film with the cast and crew being interviewed as they age before your eyes.
- Q & A With Richard Linklater & Cast (53 Minutes) – The Director and cast sit down at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles to discuss the film. This is quite an interesting Q&A and a quick search on You-tube also brought it up so if you can’t wait to see it you know what to do.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
They have put together an excellent cover, I would consider having it as a poster. The menu is just navigation.
Audio & Video: 9/10
It’s incredible how a film made over a period of 12 years can look so clean and consistent from frame to frame. To achieve this Linklater used 75mm film to capture the entire movie and give it its incredible look. The Blu-Ray presentation (1080P 1.78:1) is not remarkable but captures the mundane tone of everyday life perfectly. Detail is clean and clear with only occasional noise in the darkest of shots.
The DTS-HD master Audio 5.1 track used here is generally dialog focused. Voice is immaculately prioritized to the center of the screen and occasional music lights up the surround speakers. It’s a fairly simplistic track that serves the movie well and will not disappoint the listener. Boyhood is indeed a triumph on all levels.
Overall Score 9/10