Chronological “Boyhood” stuggles, yet charms

By: Jessica Larkin ~Copy Editor~

From the director of movies like “School of Rock” and “Dazed and Confused” comes a drama that redefines the comingof- age theme. Presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in January, Richard Lanklater’s “Boyhood” chronicles the life of a child named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, from first grade to his first day of college.

The watershed picture “Boyhood” followed the same actors for almost 12 years.

Mason and his sister, Sam (Lorelie Linklater), spend their lives moving from home to home in Texas with their mother (Patricia Arquette) and escaping drunken stepfathers and old loves while learning to call each new place home. Mason endures many hardships of a typical young boy, from bullies to peer pressure. From each experience, he grows into the philosophical, and sometimes mildly paranoid, photographer who pursues the answers to impossible questions. “Boyhood” captivates the audience with its stunning reality. Though there are moments when it seems the story may take startling turns, it never steps over the border into dramatic.

The realistic narrative makes the movie more relatable and certainly more engaging for an audience watching an entire family grow before their eyes. Though many movies cross the line that separates reality from cinema, “Boyhood” finds a comfortable balance between the two. The most intriguing quality of the production is its longevity. Linklater and his crew filmed the movie over the real-time span of 12 years with the same cast.

The movie was shot from May of 2002 to October of last year. Linklater gathered the cast for a few weeks every year to shoot the film. He wanted to record and interpret the life of a boy from the time he enters the first grade to when he graduates high school, trying to best capture mediocrity and authenticity. The filming of “Boyhood” housed a few issues in its production,

mostly arising from the decree that actors are not permitted to a contractual obligation to a movie for more than seven years. Because of this regulation, known as the De Havilland Law, the actors in the film were not able to sign contracts for their work. Overall though, “Boyhood” lacked cinematic drama, and it saved its integrity with insight through observation, thus making it a very thought-provoking film for an audience normally accustomed to Hollywood tragedy.

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