This afternoon I went to see Boyhood
, directed by Richard Linkater. The movie has received wonderful reviews, and I was really looking forward to it. I enjoyed Linklater’s films, “Fast Food Nation,” “Before Sunset,” “School of Rock,”
and of course, the iconic “Dazed and Confused”
(one of my favorite movies ever!) So I had high hopes for this one. Linklater took 12 years to make this movie because he decided to use the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) who plays the main character throughout the film. So we are truly watching a boy grow up on screen. This in itself is quite unique and indeed very fascinating. However, I came away disappointed.
It’s not that this was a bad movie. It’s definitely better than 90% of the mindless crap that Hollywood pumps out these days. But the movie falls flat. I love character driven dramas, and I am more entertained by good dialogue and a good plot than by action and adventure. But even for me, this movie was just sort of boring. I never felt really drawn in to any of the main characters. And rather than smoothly transitioning from one stage of the boy’s life to the next – or else going from grade school to middle school to high school and allowing us to get attached to the circumstances and characters during each of these stages – the movie tends to progress randomly. Is it a year later? Is it a month later? Is it two years later? It’s difficult to tell. We essentially have to figure it out based on the boy’s hair style at the time.
But I get it. The idea was for us to watch this boy grow up on screen. But the segues were odd. And just as you start to take interest in a particular character (for example, the two step fathers that were very well portrayed), the movie jumps to the next stage in the boy’s life and those characters are jettisoned from the movie in the process. We never see them again, and we are left with many unresolved character plots. The only characters we see consistently throughout the film are the boy, his sister (Lorelei Linklater), his mother (Patricia Arquette), and the father (Ethan Hawke). But none of these characters really gained my interest. I wanted to become emotionally invested in them, but I never did.
There were a few humorous moments, but not many. There was plenty of beautiful scenery. But the movie never succeeded in delivering the intended sentiment. But again, this was not a terrible movie. If you’re gonna spend $15 at the movies, this will be better than anything else that’s playing. But I’d wait for it to come out on video.
OK, that’s my two cent movie review on this one. I wish that I had something better to say about it. Of course, others may completely disagree with my assessment. If you’ve seen it, please let me know what you think.