Review: Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ best picture material?

This Oscars season, few movies were as widely accepted as “Boyhood,” directed by former Sam Houston State University student Richard Linklater.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Those who might have at least heard of Linklater may be familiar with films such as “School of Rock,” “Dazed and Confused,” and his “Before” trilogy. “Boyhood,” a film that was shot over 12 years, deals with the life of Mason Evans, played by Ellar Coltrane, as he deals with a troubled family, constantly changing schools and figuring out where life should take him. “Boyhood” costars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater as his mother, biological father and sister, respectively.

One thing that may make or break the movie for viewers is its lack of an overall plot. In other words, “boy grows up and goes to college” is literally the entire movie. However, the lack of a bigger plot allows the characters to be explored in a more meaningful and realistic setting.

The pacing of the scenes can vary, and those who go into “Boyhood” blind might not have the patience to enjoy certain segments. One thing that makes “Boyhood” competent in its execution is how it respects the viewer enough to not constantly spell out when the events take place. The only way to tell time passing by is through the aging of the cast and variations in setting and background elements.

As far as flaws are concerned, there are parts of the film that do not come off as strong as intended. For instance, there is a scene in which Arquette’s character is talking to her children in a restaurant, and the film reinforces her point by having a seemingly unimportant character come out of nowhere. The scene feels “on the nose,” even though it has no significance for the overall plot.

However, the way that scene is portrayed feels awkward. Some scenes drag on too long or feel like they are only there to reinforce the timeframe in which it takes place. While those scenes do capture how dull and eventless life can be, it can be a chore if the viewer is trying to get something else out of it. Especially when Evans is in high school, when he plays a rather whiny and outright unlikable teen that seems to have no real hardships, aside from a moment of temporary confusion. While that aspect is realistic and relatable, it becomes annoying rather quick.

The film is currently on Amazon Instant Video, but not Prime or Netflix. “Boyhood” succeeds in its ambitions, not perfectly, but it nevertheless does have an impact on the audience in one-way or another. Is it Best Picture material? That’s debatable. Going for best picture is not the key thing for “Boyhood,” despite what many seem to argue. What is more important is whether or not “Boyhood” resonates with its viewers.

There is one comment

  1. horatio

    Its beautiful..BUT it is still a one trick pony and a gimmick. More of a pseudo documentary than anything. Should get a special award for creating a work of art that is not categorize able. But don't worry, the academy will mess this up as they mess everything up...just about every time.

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