“Boyhood” is a movie like no other


Jackson French

“Boyhood” has such a staggering level of ambition that most other movies seem trifling by comparison. Rather than merely showing one chapter of a young person’s life, director Richard Linklater’s newly released project chronicles one boy’s entire childhood. 

“Boyhood” follows young Mason Evans Jr., played by Ellar Coltrane, through his childhood and early adulthood. Filmed for a few weeks at a time over the course of 12 years, characters genuinely grow and age as the movie progresses. The result is a breathtakingly realistic portrait of life. Even if this movie wasn’t good, Linklater and his cast would still deserve plenty of praise for their sheer dedication.

With such a risky shooting schedule, Linklater took a huge gamble with “Boyhood.” That gamble paid off immensely. “Boyhood” is truly a landmark in terms of its unique approach and the vastness of its scope, as well as its captivating and engrossing story.

Just like reality, there’s not just one conflict for Mason to overcome. He has to deal with his divorced parents, expertly played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, who are trying to get their lives together. Abusive stepfathers, portrayed by Marco Perella and Brad Hawkins, make things even harder. Fitting in and figuring out what he wants to do in life provides Mason a hefty challenge.

 These problems can’t all be tackled at once and often intertwine. “Boyhood” doesn’t follow a story-driven plot where one big struggle is overcome in the end, but invites the viewer to float along with Mason and his family and experience their troubles with them.

While watching Mason’s life unfold, you will no doubt be reminded of moments from your own life. The movie constantly strives to be an honest portrayal of growing up in America and always succeeds. “Boyhood” captures both the stresses and joys of childhood and adolescence without seeming anything less than wholly genuine. Nobody watching this movie will escape a feeling of kinship with Mason, watching him struggle through the sort of things we’ve all known and might still be going through.

Much like real life, “Boyhood” is a blur. Though nearly three hours in length, every part of this movie feels vital. When it’s over, you’ll be sideswiped by how quickly it went by.

“Boyhood” is a stunning achievement. Its massive scale, flawless execution and superb ability to connect with the audience makes this movie stand head and shoulders above anything else released this year.