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Boyhood: Movie Review

Boyhood: Movie Review

After experiencing the massive ovation at the recent Sydney Film Festival, sitting awestruck I was ironically stuck for words. There is no-doubt Boyhood actually creates discussion. Be prepared for hype to spread, early buzz is justified.

It is really best for all potential viewers to know as little as amicably possible of this monumental drama, entrancing beyond the near three-hour running time, adolescence told in no uncertain terms that the late John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) would be proud of. Astonishing as it is to witness real-time events unfold, rest assured, Boyhood is practically indescribable anyway.

Spanning a twelve-year period in short filming bursts using the same cast, avoiding stock footage, but showing real events and reactions centering around Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from a baby-faced toddler to a tall young man. Don’t be alarmed – this is not a boring home video of backyard swing-sets and family holidays, growing up before our eyes is really just the beginning for Mason and the audience.

The examination of unpredictable youth presents intensity of surprising believability. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play the divorced parents who are also evolving over time but the scene stealer beyond a shadow of a doubt is Lorlei Linklater as older sister Samantha. Lauded independent director Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed & Confused) cast his real life daughter in the role which has come up trumps with magnificent results of a personal sibling time-capsule in itself. Discipline and trust is often pushed.

Paying attention will not be a problem whenever she appears on screen. Hilarious and so real, her teenage years are a riot of every possible cliché from Clueless to Pretty in Pink, incredible.

Mason of course is the focus, the audience literally remains with him every step of the way. A substantial swath of his time is preserved including getting a girlfriend, breaking up, driving a car to being accepted into college and a passion for photography. How it all develops is what’s interesting. His character and his own life begin to meet in places.

It is not a documentary; it is an unconventionally scripted character study that has remarkably used the same people in over a decade of almost intrusive, delightful filmmaking. The optimistic commitment for director Linklater was even more difficult for the studio funding this celluloid experiment. Explaining to the funding film company that there would be nothing to show for their investment for over 12 years was an eye-opener to them. The cast were not even allowed to look at the footage throughout the decade-plus time frame.

Brave, fearless, epic in scope, everything you like about movies is all here. A unique possible Oscar nominee to touch your heart long after fade out.

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.