By Michael Lew (Melbourne, Australia)
Watching Boyhood at my local cinema was quite a nice treat for me, like finding a king sized chocolate bar at the bottom of a seemingly empty Halloween bag.
Boyhood is a drama movie made in 2014 that is written and directed by Richard Linklater, a director who I personally know for having his most known movies all starting with Before (save for this one), the movies I am making reference to are: Before Sunset (2004) a drama/romance movie, Before Sunrise (1995) a drama/romance movie and Before Midnight (2013) a drama/romance movie, and now Boyhood, a drama movie with romance elements. Well it’s good to see he’s branching out (I kid, Richard Linklater also directed such films as School Of Rock and Fast Food Nation).
Boyhood could very well be described as a groundbreaking or revolutionary movie, a film being shot over 12 years with the same cast starting at the age of 9 certainly make it stand out, but its 12 year filming time is only a small part of what makes this movie truly spectacular. A big problem with certain mindless action movies (and other movies too) is that they get caught up trying to impress the audience as opposed to actually entertaining them, I mean sure, a 12 x 12 volcano mold for a baking soda and vinegar explosion is undoubtedly impressive, but if the actual explosion is as exciting as growing grass then I don’t care if the volcano is as big as a mansion the only thing in it is sand and really dusty pebbles! What I’m going on about is that some modern movies try to drive their plot by CGI and explosions as opposed to character development and the actual story of the movie. If movies were a layer cake it would include: Plot, excitement, drama and character development as the base of the cake, and CGI as the icing on top, it just doesn’t matter how hard you try, you just cannot shove the icing into the middle of the layer cake.
Basically, Boyhood is a very nice carrot cake. It doesn’t try to impress you with its fancy CGI or fantastical themes. It just sits there, modestly, calmly and beautifully. Boyhood thrives off its character development, and at its core, the entire movie is just a 12 year journey of a boy called Mason growing up and tackling life the way life actually is, not some mystical adventure with space robots and zombies, just life, it showcases real world issues like family violence without overdoing it, it shows a child being forced into unfair and hard situations and him just living through them. Boyhood is just offering us a look into a person’s life and how they have dealt with the challenges placed before them.
Personally, Boyhood’s modestly really sold it for me. There were countless scenes in the movie where I thought something tragic and plot changing would happen because that is just what I had come to expect with movies nowadays, like this one scene (minor spoiler alert), where Mason’s step father forced him to get a ‘man’s’ haircut that made him look like a bit of a bowling ball, while Mason was complaining about it, his Mum consoled him and said something along the lines of “It’ll grow back,” and I thought he would get cancer and I’d be strapped in for a movie about his struggle to survive. But that didn’t happen, he just, lived through that scene, and many other scenes like it.
In conclusion, Boyhood is a great movie that is quite revolutionary and a real treat for anybody who is sick of modern movies overacting everything. It’s a very modest and calm movie that deals with real world issues and allows the viewer to relate to the character much more literally then some other movies. I can definitely imagine some scenes in the movie really resonating with certain people.