Tuesday 2 December 2014

Boyhood [2014]

Boyhood is that rare film that has succeeded in being deceptively simple and yet incredibly ambitious. The coming-of-age tale of a guy through his boyhood days – from childhood through adolescence to adulthood – was refreshing in its simplicity and ordinariness. But what made this a jaw-dropping work was in its making – though shot in only 39 days, Linklater spaced them over an unbelievable span of 12 years! The fact that the same set of key actors kept reprising their respective roles over that humongous period ensured that we do not just see their characters grow and change psychologically, we also witness their actual ageing process in sync with their physical (and cinematic) temporal journey. The focus was on a broken, but otherwise close-knit family, comprising of Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), his elder sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), their divorced mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) who has custody of the children, and their estranged but loving father Mason (Ethan Hawke). Over the next 12 years we see Olivia going through 2 more failed marriages and finally coming to terms with her poor luck with men, Mason’s gradual shift from a wannabe musician who moves against the tide to a conservative family-man, Samantha’s growing up from a bratty elder sister to a precocious young lady, and most importantly, Mason Jr.’s fascinating journey from a wide-eyed 6 year-old kid to a matured, introspective, slightly detached 18-year old who’s possibly found his calling as a photographer. The bittersweet tone deftly underscored their changing lives, and the making aspect imbued it with a quiet profundity and emotional exuberance. Coltrane’s performance was particularly breathtaking in illuminating his reel and real journeys.

Director: Richard Linklater
Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Coming-of-Age Film
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Yes this film is a remarkable achievement. I can only think of the Apted series that has matched its extended time frame arc, but this is a masterpiece of the cinema, where Apted's films were fascinating curiosities. Coltrane was indeed extraordinary, and the film slowly envelops you with a depth of emotion. You beautifully frame its artistry here Shubhajit! :)

For me this seriously contends for the year's best film.

Shubhajit said...

Yeah, this would surely be a strong contender for the year's best film - the film was good, but what elevated it to rarefied realms was its unbelievably audacious making, challenging the limits for what filmmakers can aspire to accomplish.