by | Aug 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Linklater Mesmerizes Us With A Simple Story That Makes This A Most Unique Film

Just when you think everything has been done in cinema, in comes Richard Linklater to prove you wrong. Linklater is known for his unique films, where he completely goes against anything mainstream. One of his early achievements, is his philosophical high school film Dazed and Confused, where he cast Matthew McConaughey in his first ever role of his film career. However, Linklater’s presence only began to be noted when his film Before Sunrise premiered, which later spawned into a trilogy, where its latest installment Before Midnight came out just last summer. This trilogy not only spurred Linklater’s career, but also that of actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Little did anyone know about the phenomenon Linklater was carrying out ‘behind the scenes.’

In 2002 Linklater embarked on an ambitious project of filming a kid’s life from age 6 to 18. It seems like a boring enough plot, but what was so intriguing about the film is the fact that Linklater let his actors age along with the storyline, so that it took him 12 years to film Boyhood. The film starts out following a young boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) who lives with his mother (Patricia Arquette) and is constantly bugged by his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), who sometimes wakes him up singing Britney Spears. We watch as Mason grows up, literally, in front of our eyes. We see how he copes with his mother’s poor choice of boyfriends. We see how Mason suffers from constantly moving around the country, but we especially see the love he has for his family. Mason’s father (Ethan Hawke) is a failed musician who is trying to find some stability in his life. Nevertheless, Mason’s father is optimistic and loving and is constantly looking to plant a smile on his children’s faces, whether its through a baseball game, going bowling, or even embarking on a camping trip. We follow Mason’s path all the way up to his first day of college.

What is so special about Linklater’s films is that none of his characters are special. Normally when one goes and sees a film or even read a simple story, we follow a character’s journey and see how he is different and special from others. That is particularly why the human being is interested in any kind of story: to see something different from their everyday lives. None of Linklater’s films, from Dazed and Confused to Boyhood, passing through the Before trilogy, have any characters that are out of the ordinary, and that is what’s so revolutionary! All of the scenes in Boyhood aren’t some huge event in history (a la Forrest Gump), but rather a person’s memories, the good and the bad.

Linklater’s knack of casting his films well also is unbelievably constant; he has a knack for spotting talent. Ellar Coltrane probably goes through the most difficult acting process any actor has gone through in the history of cinema. Not only does he manage to act with a composure not seen in any child actors of today, but he also manages to keep to his dedication and passion for his character throughout his whole boyhood. But if anyone deserves applause, that is Ethan Hawke. Hawke mesmerizes us with his handling of the script, you can clearly tell that he improvises most of the time; and that is why he makes one feel as if we are peering into his personal life with his son, almost as if looking at a family video. That sort of acting is a rare occurrence, and a treat for all audience members. Patricia Arquette also does a great job in showing her jammed and desperate character.

One of the greatest achievements of Boyhood was the seamlessness of the film. Linklater manages to string in various time jumps with no letters or any external help, simply with a perfect dialogue and an effortless music queue, which seems simple enough to state, but is very often overlooked by most of Hollywood directors. 

This film could be considered one of the few perfect films in the history of cinema. The only drawback is that it’s nearly 3 hours, but trust me when I say this: every minute is worth it. Not only is the last scene powerful enough to leave you in your seat during all the credits, but the film itself will also never leave your mind for the remaining days of your childhood.



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What Film best Captured a Slice of Life? Let me know in the comments section.

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