Boyhood

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By David Michael Newstead.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood holds a mirror to real life and if the film is occasionally awkward, painful, or uncertain it always has the virtue of feeling genuine. Like this could be someone’s actual childhood. Regardless of the title, it’s also very much about mothers and fathers and siblings, relationships, and how people change overtime. Of course, I was initially interested in seeing it because the film was shot every summer over the course of twelve years with the same actors. This type of production is more like a TV series than a movie, but without the audience unknowingly growing accustomed to gradual changes as the characters get older. In Boyhood, twelve years pass in front of your eyes in two hours. An entire marriage could last 45 minutes or less. And you watch as the clock ticks by on a person’s youth and all the experiences encompassed within it. In a sense, that’s a very humbling feeling. And it’s easy to wonder what a viewing of your own life would really look like if a decade was compressed and shown in succession. Yet, the admirable thing about the movie is that it remains a clear representation instead of a nostalgia soaked memory. The events depicted are on-going, linear, and realistic. There are no flashbacks. There are no editorials. Just a lifelike series of moments, good and bad. You get drawn into the characters’ stories and you see their flaws along the way. For that reason, Boyhood will mean different things depending on who’s watching it, while still capturing an experience that is universally relatable: growing up.

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