Richard Linklater born and raised in Houston, Texas moved to Austin after quitting his routine job and began his career as an independent filmmaker. In his Reddit AMA, he stated, “Once you devote your life to film you're kind of in for the whole thing. I've noticed different kinds of films have inspired me at different points in my life, but the goal is to see everything.” With Boyhood, Linklater has constructed an original film, a movie that will be remembered for the coming years.
Boyhood begins with a scene of a perfect blue sky, partially clouded and a background song of Coldplay’s “Yellow.” Coldplay’s Parachutes was released in 2000. The film follows a story of Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and their mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and in suburban Texas. Olivia moves to Houston to complete her studies at University of Houston while her mother looks over her kids. When in Houston, Mason’s father, Mason Sr (Ethan Hawk) visits them frequently. The kids and their mom face various challenges throughout the film.
I have rarely seen such an accurate reality projected on the screen. Boyhood recognizes commotion of adolescence as well as raising children as a single mother. Just like life, the ups and downs. However, Mason’s character lacks a strong character development during teenage years. He was the same ole annoying kid you met during high school. The cynic who felt the world was out to get to him. There is a scene in the film where he goes to University of Texas at Austin to visit his sister with his girlfriend. This was his phase to losing virginity by having sex with his girlfriend in her sister’s dorm while her roommate is out of town. It felt forced. I wanted the character much more relatable in terms of sexual frustrations. Samantha, a clever kid goes through infamous changes throughout the film. She reflected many of my female cousins in today’s society. Hollywood scripts have made my very icky. During a scene in Boyhood, Mason Jr’s girlfriend is showing him a picture of a dog on Facebook while he’s driving. I had this sudden feeling that he was going to crash and end up in the hospital. The main reason I thought about this was because most Hollywood scripts add jibber jabbers.
Despite the few flaws, Boyhood is a poignant film. The film rewards our expectations at the end. The film has minimal camera movements and uses natural light making it more like a home video. Boyhood demonstrates the flow of time by using cultural references: Game Boys to Xbox, Coldplay to the Black Keys, and George Bush Jr. to the Democratic Campaign of POTUS in 2008. What is unique about Boyhood is what each character learned from their mistakes.