Written and directed by Richard Linklater
If you read the reviews of Boyhood and you are a movie buff you will waste no time rushing out to see this film.
Be forewarned: you will be disappointed. It doesn't live up to the hype. But more importantly, if you go into it without knowing the concept you will likely be bored to tears. So read on.
This movie was filmed over a twelve year period using all of the same actors, and we get to watch two kids growing up, literally, from ages 7 and 9 to ages 18 and 20 (Ellar Coltrane in the role of Mason - below). Great concept, right? Intriguing and unique (if Linklater hadn't already done the same kind of thing in his ho-hum but highly lauded "Before" trilogy). Unfortunately the execution doesn't live up to the idea, and it's mostly because of the writing.
We're not meant to see any major action, we're just meant to watch and appreciate life. Which would be wonderful if we weren't subjected to hours of tedium in the middle. I can't count the number of times I looked at my watch, thinking, "Oh my god, there's still two hours left," and "Oh my god, there's still an hour left."
I felt no connection to the characters, so I didn't much care what happened to them, particularly the mother, played by Rosanna Arquette, whose repetitive stupidity was just annoying.
But toward the end, when Mason graduates from high school I felt as if I knew him, and was proud of who he'd become, as if he were part of my family. And in the final scene where he's gone off to college (a perfect ending for an imperfect film) I felt hopeful for his future.
Boyhood would have benefited from editing. It runs two hours and forty-two minutes and could have easily been told in two. Or maybe 90 minutes. Or maybe just the opening scene where he's lying on the grass, looking up at the sky and then fast forward to his graduation. Done.
Two and a half stars out of five for Boyhood.