BOYHOOD – A Review by John Strange

Boyhood - Still7
By: John ’Doc’ Strange
Writer/Directed by: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
MPAA Rating: R (for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use)
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
Runtime: 164 Min.
Try to imagine what it would look like if a filmmaker could portray 12 years of your life without using a plethora of actors to show the various ages of the participants.  You can’t?  Neither can I.  What Richard Linklater has done is actually more difficult.   He has taken a group of actors and actresses and working about a week a year for those twelve years to give us the story of a young man’s life over that period. 
The film begins with the young man, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), at the age of 6.  His mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) are struggling to get by while Olivia is going to college.  Over the twelve years we see the family change and evolve as the kids grow towards adulthood.
The dynamics of this story are amazing.  Richard Linklater has managed to maintain a coherent progression of the storyline as the characters age and the family dynamic changes year to year using without a pre-written script.  Husbands (and ex-husbands) are introduced, some falling by the wayside following divorce.  Friends come and go just as they would in real life. 
There are two pillars in the kids’ lives.  One is Olivia, who for better or worse is always there for her children.  The other is her first husband, the father of the children, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke).  Back from Alaska, Mason does his best to be a good father to the kids. 
We are allowed to follow the always interesting sometimes rocky lives of the family.  We watch them grow up in spurts, tackling new schools, loves, and abusive step-fathers.  All of this is accompanied by an amazing soundtrack of period music to keep us firmly in tune with each window in time.
At two hours and 44 minutes, this is a long film, roughly 13 and a half minutes per year on average.  When you watch it, you will be so engrossed in the story that the time will fly by.  I know it did for me.  Take an afternoon or evening and join the family on their journey through life and experience a milestone in filmmaking history.  You’ll come out happy that you did.
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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