Under Review: “Boyhood”

Director Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood over the course of 12 years.

Director Richard Linklater filmed “Boyhood” over the course of 12 years.

Michael VerMeulen, Staff Writer

An incredible piece of independent filmmaking, “Boyhood” is a thought-provoking and realistic film that moves the heart and soul by focusing on its interesting characters.

Filmed over the course of 12 years, from 2002 to 2014, by writer-director Richard Linklater, the movie looks at the life of a young boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows up with his single mother (Patricia Arquette) and older sister (Lorelei Linklater) in Texas with occasional visits by his father (Ethan Hawke).

Linklater does a tremendous job of weaving in different plot threads and emotions throughout. Actors who shot their scenes years earlier return later in the film with great emotional payoff. Most scenes feel almost documentary-style in their realistic nature.

In “Boyhood,” plot takes a backseat to character development and evolution. For this story, Linklater was spot-on in choosing to allow a natural progression rather than forcing any melodramatic story arcs. This decision could have easily make the film hard to sit through since the film clocks in at 165 minutes. However, my eyes were glued to the screen from the very first shot because of the superb dialogue, which stayed that way until the final fade to black.

The actors of “Boyhood”–child and adult alike–are tremendous. As Mason, Ellar Coltrane shows evolution from a cute, innocent boy to a philosophical, insightful young man. Lorelei Linklater’s older sister changes from an annoying sibling to an understanding college student. Finally, Patricia Arquette gives especially deep emotion to the lower-class single mother, and she is easy to empathize with because of her struggles.

With “Boyhood”, Linklater has crafted a film that is unlike any motion picture that came before it. This movie is a stunning work of art that is both engaging and moving. It is an experience that is not to be missed.

“Boyhood” runs 165 minutes and is rated R for language and for teen drug and alcohol use.