Out of the three of us here on the site, I might be the most pessimistic when it comes to most things, Justin running a close second, and DJ bringing up the rear, as per usual. However, there are times when I watch a film, see a news nugget, or have a discussion with someone where my faith in people and humanity is slightly restored, if only for a moment. That moment came recently after watching "Boyhood;" boom, faith restored. While "Boyhood" might not be my number one film of the year, it's right on the cusp of that designation, and only now after watching it do I understand why this film is so important to so many people, but also an important milestone for film-making. It's a timeline of events that leads to something incredible and noteworthy and while the plot and storyline is something we've seen in several coming-of-age films, there is something special and endearing to behold about a film 12 years in the making, and in a landscape where everything is on Twitter and the Internet ruins everything, it's even more a wonder to only discover that "Boyhood" was actually a thing only prior to it's theatrical release.
The long and short of "Boyhood" is the journey of a boy named Mason, who we first see as a five year old kid in Texas, to a 18-year old man. On paper its a rather mundane story, but it's something that everyone can relate to. It's the small things in life that make you the person you grow into, no matter how important or how inconsequential. Along the way we also follow Mason's older sister, Samantha, played by Lorelei Linklater, his mom, played by Patricia Arquette, and his dad, played by Ethan Hawke.
Trying to break this film down simply is an injustice to "Boyhood." While the storyline isn't life changing and at it's base, the characters are simple to say the least...well...that's life. That is exactly what life is for the most part; simple, mixed with complicated choices. The journey that we go on with Mason is probably not that all uncommon. Many of us have gone though the pain and confusion of a divorce, having their parent remarry, the first day of junior high, the first note passed to you in class, your first camping trip with your dad, the list can go on and on, and the beauty of "Boyhood" is that we've all had a moment in this film that we can look back and remember, and some of those moments have shaped our lives.
Aside from identifying with moments in the film, the biggest risk/accomplishment for "Boyhood" is the time it took to make this film a reality. My first reaction to the trailer was disbelief; I couldn't believe the balls on Richard Linklater. Really, 12 years to make one film? This has to be a troll. How was this not on my radar, or pretty much anyone's radar. Usually if a film is 13 years in the making, people would have heard or spoken about it at some point. The other major point is the risk of filming for over a decade. What if any of the actors died? What if Linklater died? The gumption and balls to film for so long when in life nothing is certain, is a testament to this film, and literally the whole point. Nothing is life is certain, and even the ending line of the film, "Maybe the day seizes you" is a much better way of looking at life that has been hijacked by the YOLO generation and people's belief that you should seize the day.
"Boyhood" in my opinion, is the film of the decade. I dare there to be another film that not only captures childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood memories the way that this film does. While the film does clock in at nearly 3 hours, to be honest I could have watched a 7 hour cut and been fully engrossed. It's like the times when I would watch home movies with my dad of the family trip we took to North Carolina in 1992, or when I graduated the 6th grade and won and award, or graduating college, and of course getting married. Your experiences and memories are all you have at the end of the day, and "Boyhood" is the film that should stay with you for a long time and help you remember those little things that make you the person you are today.
Fun Fact: Had Richard Linklater died during the 12-year shoot, Ethan Hawke would have taken over the directorial duties.