Thoughts: Oh Boy, Oh Boy…Boyhood!

If you plan to do one thing in your life, do it right. Linklater took that to his heart and redefined movie making as an art, and what he did was something I doubt anyone could ever have the audacity to repeat or to use a more Bollywood term… be “inspired from”. 12 years with a solitary, hardened focus permeating from the back of his cranium, via the lens of the camera and visualized for the viewers, encapsulating all that is surreal in life with an element of cinema magic synthesized in reality.

The story is simple and grounded and I can’t help but draw parallels in theme to “The Wonder Years”. It is about the life of a young man, Mason (played brilliantly by Ellar Coltrane, though I would say that I doubt that the performance was worthy of an Oscar nomination) from age 5 to age 18 who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Four time Oscar nominee, Ethan Hawke acts as his dad, Patricia Arquette (kudos for the Oscar win) is his mom and Lorelei Linklater as Samantha is his sister. Boyhood charts the unsteady terrain of growing up like no other film has before. From a child of 5 all the way to him joining college at 18 and of everything that comes during adolescence, from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations, Boyhood is an epic journey into the recess of reality and is a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.

First and foremost, the movie is all about the acting, and each and every actor delivers an outstanding performance. To borrow a quote “…Richard Linklater’s Boyhood could just as easily have been called Motherhood….”, Patricia Arquette, who despite being around for quite some-time in show business, has barely a recognizable movie to her name and her most detectible role in Hollywood was being married to Nicolas Cage, has broken free and delivered a performance which would honestly make up for her past below par 20 odd years. Ethan Hawke is stellar as the almost absentee father who is pursuing his dream to be a musician and is trying hard to be a part of his growing son’s life. Ellar Coltrane as the lead actor just pulls through according to me. His dialogue delivery and acting skills aren’t really tested in the movie and in the context of being an average teen shows little emotional appeal and connect. A special mention has to be made about the performance of the side characters as well. Each of them showed grit and a wonderful performance in their roles.

Moving to the behind the camera roles, Frank Linklater has done a spectacular job. It takes a special kind of intellect to imagine a work of art 12 years in advance and then to execute it to perfection. The entire flick has an appeal of it being a movie and yet seems so real. The dialogs are touching and feel just natural. There are so many scenes and details in the movie where you end up feeling unbelievably close to the actors. Although this movie is a fictional piece, you can’t help not to relate to the actors as if it would be a documentary.

The sheer beauty of this movie lies in but one aspect which is that while watching this epic, you do not think of the ramifications, the pitfalls and how difficult it must have been to make, you end up enjoying it at surface level, only truly appreciating the sheer brilliance of what has been achieved after the film in actually wrapped up. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime film and therefore a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone watching it. This is a modern classic, and it will definitely take its place in the top movies ever made.

 

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