Boyhood, film review: Emotional gains from growing pains in rich coming-of-age film
(15) Dir. Richard Linklater; Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, 166mins
Saturday 12 July 2014
Filmed intermittently but with the same actors over a period of 12 years, Boyhood is a coming-of-age film not quite like any other. It has the same relaxed, life- as-it-happens naturalism as many of Richard Linklater's other films – Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise and its sequels – but this one is also novelistic in its richness and scope, and really does seem effortlessly to capture life as it is happening.
The focus is on one family in Texas: divorced parents Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and Mason (Ethan Hawke) and their children Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane).
Olivia and Mason remarry three times between them, sometimes disastrously, so that Mason Jr, who begins as a daydreamy five-year-old and grows into just the kind of arty, philosophical, mildly disaffected 18-year-old who wandered through Linklater's Gen-X-defining Slacker, has a succession of father figures instructing him on how to shape up. If you wanted to boil it down, you might say it's about how growing up might mean coming to the realisation that adults don't have all the answers, either.
But Boyhood doesn't have the sort of story that you want to boil down. You don't often get to experience time being so condensed and yet free-flowing as it is in this one, and it is a pleasure just to watch the characters develop and the actors get older.
To see their electronic gadgets become more advanced, and the way the surrounding mood of the country improves when Bush gives way to Obama, and how Mason Jr graduates from lingerie catalogues to internet porn, or loses interest in Harry Potter but still likes Star Wars. Boyhood contains a whole young lifetime's worth of joy and disappointment and things in between, and in just the right proportions.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election