Film review: Boyhood

Sprawling but not unwieldy, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood takes the eventful but not overly dramatized life of an ordinary teenager from a broken home to construct an epic tale of one boy’s slow transition to manhood. His role models — a mother whose many husbands always end up drinking the relationship into calamity and a father who doesn’t hold a steady job and seems to be entirely carefree — don’t have the strongest or the most ambitious personalities in the world, but they form him nonetheless in their own ways.

Linklater shot the film over an unusually lengthy period of time (from 2002 until 2013), using the same trio of actors at its core: Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr., Lorelei Linklater as his older sister Samantha, and Patricia Arquette as their mother Olivia. Ethan Hawke also features in many of the scenes as the children’s biological father, Mason Sr., who has already divorced Olivia by the time we meet them all in the opening scenes.

Obviously, the film’s peculiar production schedule is the primary reason many readers will be intrigued to watch it. But another, related rationale better explains the attraction to the film: The process of aging has been compressed into 160 minutes, and time flows much more quickly, perhaps too quickly, as we come to realize toward the end, when we sympathize with Olivia during the most heartrending moments of the production.

To read the full review, visit The Prague Post.

(Boyhood still. © Courtesy of Sundance Institute)