One of this year’s nominees for Best Picture in the Academy Awards was Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.
The film is about a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his journey from the age of six to the age of eighteen. However, unlike any other film before, Linklater uses the same set of actors from start to finish to tell the story of Mason’s average, yet touching childhood.
Every summer for twelve years, the actors gathered in various locations in Texas and filmed a fifteen-minute short film for each year of Mason’s life. After all the footage was done, Linklater complied them together into one movie.
In a sense, Boyhood has two halves: one that focuses on Mason’s divorced parents, Olivia and Mason Sr. (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). The film follows the parents as they grow, change, and sometimes struggle through relationships that are most important to them.
Another half of the film focuses on Mason and his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), transitioning from adolescence into adulthood through their experiences, both happy and sad.
From start to finish, Boyhood is a very honest film that tells a touching and relatable story. Not only does the viewer see the growth of the characters’ personalities, but they also see their physical growth, which invokes nostalgia over events that viewers may have never even experienced themselves.
Viewers can also tell which year each scene takes place through the subtlety of the soundtrack, with news and pop culture events embedded within the script.
Having a 165-minute runtime, Boyhood can sometimes feel a little long and people who generally find slow paced movies drab may be disappointed. With that said, Boyhood is a heartwarming film, which proves that although we all have the same experiences and milestones growing up, it’s the people and surroundings involved that make them unique.