Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater (2014)
Much like the essence of life, Boyhood is a sprawling 12 year story full of little moments—and how fitting that for the audience, this film is but a moment of our lives? Nothing short of immaculate and monumental, Boyhood is an intimate portrait of growing up, growing old, and the ebb and flow of change that transforms us into the people we are in this moment, all in relativity to the grand scheme of moments that make up our lives. Linklater’s trademark naturalism and conversational voyeurism is nowhere more consummate and moving than in Boyhood, a film that captures the culture and history that surrounds the recent decade, because it was filmed gradually throughout the 2000s. Hairstyles change, clothing changes, technology advances, music changes, and those seemingly insignificant, fleeting “things” (more or less), become a signifier and reflection of times. They demarcate moments, events, and cultural shifts, in retrospect.
And that’s only gazing upon the generality of the overall narrative. Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece (it truly is) that has so many moments, and has so much to say about life. People enter and leave our lives; our simplest of words can change lives; and throughout our lives we learn from an immeasurable number of experiences, and are influenced by countless people. Every family has their own struggle. And every day is a step toward the future, and then we perish. But before we do, each of our lives is filled with moments, whether we acknowledge them as such or not, whether we remember them or not. Watching this family—a boy, his older sister, and their childhood between divorced parents—mature on screen, physically and emotionally, career wise and in all dimensions of their relationships (with teachers, friends, new families, and new romances), is humbling. In just under three hours, it encapsulates the ephemerality of life. Life moves on no matter what.
Boyhood is a fascinating study of character and identity, family and life, and it’s a cinematic and narrative achievement that will stand as a remarkable film for generations of audiences.
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