Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is a young boy who has a very hectic childhood. His mum (Patricia Arquette) had him and his sister very young and had to give up school to look after them. Once they’ve grown up a bit, she announces that they are all moving to Houston. Texas, where she is going to go back to college and get a teaching degree. There she continues to go to school whilst the kids meet their dad (Ethan Hawke) every weekend. This generally tends to be the norm over the next twelve years, during which a pair of drunken husbands come and go, the family move another couple of three times, and Mason grows up.
Boyhood is something that can be viewed as a landmark achievement in cinema and film making. The whole production took twelve years (more than a decade!) to film and put together. A project lasting that long faces a shed-load of potential problems. For example, Coltrane who played Mason was very young when filming started. A lot of the risk involved in making Boyhood lay with him, and the sort of person he mature into, and the acting quality he came to possess, as he was essentially, who the story revolved around. However, from my point of view at least, it seems that the risks paid off. Boyhood turned out to be a tremendous feat, and has made director Richard Linklater something of a legend.
I loved the performances of all the main actors and actresses in the film. Obviously there was Coltrane. He really needed to be brilliant for the film to succeed, and he was – all the way throughout. He showed the emotions that every child experiences as they grow up and that was the core of everything. And as for all the friendships and relationships Mason had over the years, the as he dealt with them was portrayed by Coltrane excellently. Very well done to him.
Hawke was also wonderful as the dad who never really grew up himself. He wanted to be as good a father as possible to his kids, but when they were still very young, he just wasn’t ready. Him and Coltrane had very good on-screen chemistry with their father/son bond and you felt as if they really cared about each other. Hawke also showed that whilst he perhaps wasn’t prepared for fatherhood when his kids first came into the world, he wouldn’t change either of them for anything.
And now for Arquette – that woman won an Oscar for a reason, you know! In all fairness, Boyhood followed her story as much as her son’s, therefore she was equally as vital as Coltrane. Throughout the film, her character went on quite a journey, and a rough one at that. But she grew as much as Mason on that journey and by the end, she was a very strong, inspirational woman who had raised two wonderful children. It was a remarkable performance she gave, and the Academy were right in giving her Best Actress.
Linklater, as I’ve already said, did an excellent job in directing this film. He had a vision for how he wanted the whole thing to play out and he went for it, and the end result, I’d imagine, was very rewarding for him.
All in all, Boyhood is an achievement that should be witnessed by all. At nearly three hours long, it may be quite a long session for some, but it is well worth the numb bum you’ll have by the end of it. The story is great (and relatable), and the performances are just flawless – Boyhood certainly blossomed into something beautiful.