Boyhood follows after the childhood of Mason from when he was 6 until he reached the legal age of 18. Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise) wrote and directed the film and used the same set of actors. It's 12 years of film in the making.Mason is portrayed by Ellar Cortrane where we get to see him grow up for real as a person. Alongside him is his elder sister Samantha who is played by none other than Linklater's own daughter, Lorelei Linklater.
Linklater really is friends with his Before Sunrise series' main actor, Ethan Hawke. Ethan Hawke plays the role of Mason's estranged dad and we get to witness how Ethan's youngness degrades to the middle age. On the brighter side, his voice has gotten deep which is good if it were not for the lisp that became conspicuous.
Patricia Arquette has won Oscars as Best Supporting Actress this year for the role of Mason's mom. I say it's a well-deserved win.
You might say that Boyhood is a slow-paced film but its seemingly tranquil nature doesn't drag it down. Moreover, running at 160 minutes, it doesn't feel like it's a slow drag. It's interesting as if you watch your own childhood come alive. It captures the spirit of the time during filming with references from a Harry Potter book release to watching Lady Gaga's music video in a high end cellphone.
Nothing is new as you just watch somebody else's childhood get in shape but it's a refreshing film. It was a delight on its own.
In this film, we get to see how Mason transfers from one school to the next as following after his parents' divorce, they get to change places in order to pay the bills. His mom kept falling in love with the wrong guy to the next in the process.
There's a time when Mason and Samantha got already close with their stepbrother and stepsister and yet, have to change schools in the middle of the schoolyear and leave them when their stepdad turned out to be a jerk of an alcoholic college professor.
When I was on that part in watching a bluray copy, my mom (who was supposed to be not watching alongside) got curious on what happened and why there's all this screaming. I explained to her that the second husband of Mason's mom is alcoholic and had gotten physically abusive. She stayed until that part where Mason's biological dad reentered the picture.
I could tell that my mom find Hawke attractive despite his lanky build. Then she blurted out,
He seems to be a funny guy, why can't he stay?
For which I answered that he doesn't have a decent job and he had no money. At that part of the film, Ethan doesn't know what to do with his life yet but his personality might keep people happy around him.
Boyhood might center on Mason but it doesn't leave the other characters out. You can see that there really is a family in the story and therefore, substance. It ended when Mason entered his freshman year in college and we're left with a feeling of what to come next (which is headed for romance).
Boyhood is an art film. One that uses time. It's not heavy on drama and yet it captured all the pathos of the characters' situation. This should set an inspiration for other filmmakers.