The film tells a story of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son. The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows.
When you think back to _Slackers_ you remember how easy that movie flowed. How comfortably it drifted. Just go with it. Let it happen, live in the moment. Then there's the _Before trilogy_ which again seemed effortless and free-flowing yet constructed with so much care that you knew this filmmaker was not only unusual, but acutely human. That he cherished experience and learning and submitted to the eternal present, surrendering to and tinkering with fate, while tending to the perpetually immediate situation with enormous sensitivity and regard.
But nothing could prepare you for _Boyhood_. You can't overstate the fact that it's a grand free-flowing time-lapse experiment and that most of the actors--no not actors, not performers--most of the people were cast when the central figure was a very young boy, looking up at the sky, having no idea how his future would unfold. The world might be a stage but Richard Linkater is not omnipotent. As a definitive work-in-progress, a daring collaboration with fate and destiny, who could really know how the boy's script was going to turn out, and how the wide array of voices in his life would shape him as he stumbles toward adulthood? Only a true sure-footed and fluid filmmaker, an authentic disarming innovator could raise this baby with as much beauty and wisdom. Dazed and Confused? Make room for Clear and Composed.
Hear the lamb howl. _Boyhood_ is a daring experimental wolf wrapped in conventional wool. Needing to be shot chronologically, the linear time-line and 12-year shooting schedule called for a fresh and original approach to crafting a movie. If something went wrong during the many long gaps in production, say, if an actor suddenly became unavailable, or some drastic circumstance threatened to break the continuity of the boy and his family's life, there's no going back to re-shoot. No relying on special effects make-up or casting young and old versions of a character. The faith invested in this concept and the delicate handling of it's execution is a marvel to witness, blooming before our eyes.
Patricia Arquette was growing up too. Aging faster than Ellar Coltrane, it appeared. This movie defies breaking up into a series of disjointed, episodic fragments. And Arquette stitches together an admirable and dedicated performance as the ubiquitous maternal defender who struggles to keep herself and her family from falling apart. Because of the blur between fiction and reality, between drama and documentary, and because of the way Linklater is able to nurture the process and allow his films to take on a life of their own, Arquette may not be acting on set any more than she has to in real life. A slight adjustment in perspective and this movie could have been called _Motherhood_.
IFC Films, Detour Filmproduction by Richard Linklater.
Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith.
Keywords: daily life family's daily life college boy urban life high school growing up domestic abuse coming of age teenager parenting divorce family divorced parents abusive husband
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