Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in some sort of cultural hibernation all summer, you’ve at least heard of Boyhood, Richard Linklater‘s newest film. Boyhood has garnered the kind of unanimous critical acclaim that is usually reserved for long established classics (we’re talking about a 99 % rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 100 on Metacritic), but you probably know real-life people who were less than thrilled. There’s been a lot of buzz regarding Linklater’s experimental use of time: if you know one fact about Boyhood, it’s likely that it took twelve years to film, because Mason, the film’s protagonist, really does grow from six years-old to a college-bound eighteen year-old. I can’t promise you’ll love it like I did, but I will say that if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth heading down to the Cable Car Cinema to check it out this week.
Boyhood stars Ellar Coltrane as Mason, Ethan Hawke as his cool, dreamer father, and Patricia Arquette as his strong, equally-cool-but-more- reliable mother. Linklater’s own daughter, Loralei, also grows up before the camera as Mason’s older sister, Samantha. Each summer since 2002, the cast met near Austin, Texas, all of them a year older, and filmed a few more scenes that would amount to another year of Mason’s life. Other than the unique use of time, though, Boyhood‘s premise and plot are not terribly original – in fact, nothing really exciting happens at any point in the film. Sure, Mason’s parents aren’t together and his mom ends up with a few losers, his guitar-playing dad eventually dons a tie, and Mason himself experiences moving cities, liking a girl or two, and teenage angst. But nothing really happens. What is truly engaging about the film is its simple mundaneness, the way it captures the not-that-interesting way we all grew up. It’s the kind of movie that would make my dad say, “What was the point of that?” but made my sister say “I wish someone had made that for me about my life.”