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Boyhood: A Review

Boyhood is going to be one years old very soon, so why not watch it (again) for the occasion? This very original film from the American director Richard Linklater managed to do an adventurous but rewarding concept for this film: exploring time as it really is. As the purpose was to show the family life and children slowly growing up to reach adulthood, he  decided to film this in real time, over 12 years, always with the same actors and protagonists.

Some might say it was not especially necessary, that dividing the main character into two or three different actors would not have been a problem (we follow the main one from 6 years old until he gets to university), but I think that filming the same person throughout such a long period of time definitely adds a special character to the movie. So if it is obviously quite time-consuming, the final result is definitely worth it.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) are growing up with their single mother Olivia (the wonderful Patricia Arquette), separated from the father of her children (Ethan Hawke), with whom we can guess these latter were not exactly predicted. Yet their parents both love them a lot and especially Olivia tries her best to raise them, despite the alcoholic and violent husbands that she meets during her life, the money problems, and the children’s father not always taking responsibility towards them.

This could be another plain, insipid family story that we can sometimes see on screen, but Boyhood is in fact way more than that. In addition to being an interesting analysis and satire of the middle-class American family, it is a wonderful reflection upon time, feelings, and life in general. Some actually described it as “one of the best films of the decade” and even “a miracle”; and I would tend to say it is true. This is the kind of deep, very philosophical film that does not give you a headache. On the contrary, it transports you in a different side of thinking, and allows you to see life with brand new eyes. Especially if you are a young person and/or a fan of art, this is literally going to blow you away. I would say I’m part of these two categories.  I remember when watching the film at its release last year that I was literally nailed to the spot and could not believe how much I could identify myself with the main character. In a Sartre’s existentialist way, this is the kind of movie that makes you wonder about what you are, who you are, what you want to become with what you’ve got now, and how far can you go for the things you’re passionate about, for the things you are living for.

Entertaining, very smart and intelligent, visually successful, philosophical and supported by wonderful actors: what more could you ask for?

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