"You don't want the bumpers, life doesn't give you bumpers."
Anyone who has read my reviews in the past will know that I have a soft spot for coming of age films, and Boyhood has just become one of my favorite films in this genre. I haven't seen any other film that captures life as authentically as Richard Linklater's Boyhood does as we literally see these characters grow up right before our eyes during the course of 12 years. You know how we're always saying that life goes by so fast and that it only felt like yesterday we were graduating from school? Well Boyhood is an excellent example of this, as we see the journey of this 6 year old boy as he begins school and we follow him for 12 years until he graduates from High School. Linklater filmed short scenes with the same actors during the course of 12 years and later edited them together to create this masterpiece which consists of well developed characters and a powerful narrative that is beautifully paced. You never really feel its two and a half hours because the narrative captures you from the very opening scene. It is a unique experience for the audience because we get to witness the passage of time for this family and become attached to them. It genuinely captures the moments in the life of this family as the mother struggles to raise her two children on her own while she goes through a couple of unsuccessful marriages leaving marks on her and her children, but it does so in such a way that it never hits a false note and always feels authentic and true to life. It could easily have entered into familiar territory, but it never does because the film avoids cliches and relies heavily on Richard Linklater's brilliant script (which deserves at least an Academy Award nomination). Boyhood is one of those rare unique films that inspires and reminds you to enjoy every moment of life. It's an experimental movie that will be difficult to match due to the monumental effort it took to direct a film like this for more than a decade, but it really pays off and becomes a rewarding experience. A film that captures the essence of life as well as this only comes in extremely rare occasions so this is one you won't want to miss. We will hear a lot about Boyhood during Award season.
Richard Linklater has made another splash in film history adding to an already rich legacy after his experimental work with the romantic Before trilogy. Teaming up with Ethan Hawke once again, Linklater allows us to witness another cinematic achievement, although the true star of this film is newcomer Ellar Coltrane who grows as an actor right before our eyes and shines on screen. The soundtrack also plays a key role in this film and Linklater knows a thing or two about music. The way in which he incorporated it during each stage of life was moving and only added to the underlying message Linklater was getting across of art imitating life. We see this through Coltrane's performance as he grows up, falls in and out of love, feels joy and despair, while friends come and go in and out of his life. While we visually experience how quick times passes through the physical changes in the children, it is in a late scene where Patricia Arquette is having a conversation with her son that we truly understand the emotional impact that the passage of time takes on us and how these moments sometimes become just a blink. Linklater's dedication for this film really pays off and it is such a rewarding experience for the viewer. This is my first 5 star review for a 2014 film and it will be very hard for another film to equal this experience. Richard Linklater has directed several great films, but I think Boyhood is his best and most complete film because it reaches out and touches audiences everywhere. It is a universal film with universal themes. It is the purest example of art imitating life. It reminds us to stop for a moment and remember that life isn't just about getting to our destination, but more about enjoying the journey and living the moment. Boyhood is an exceptional and groundbreaking film, a must see, and a modern classic.