Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is a movie of its own species.
Filming took place for one week per year over twelve years, resulting in an unprecedented representation of childhood where the actors truly grow and mature in front of the audience’s eyes.
Watching the movie feels like growing up; it’s one milestone after another and looking back, it’s hard to believe so much could happen in what feels like such a short time. The quick pace punctuated by frequent, jarring life events is to be expected when condensing twelve years into two hours and forty five minutes. But even in the breaths between the ‘big things,’ there is nothing unimportant. Bickering between siblings, camping with dad, a bad haircut: the details are the small moments that make up our lives.
Certain elements of Boyhood are widely relatable, as growing up is a process everyone goes through. However, audience members who are currently close in age to Mason have a unique empathy, since the music, technology and fashion that surrounds Mason as he grows up reflects parts of their own childhood. Linklater attentively fine-tuned these cultural details. Nods were given to relevant events, from a Harry Potter release party to the war in Iraq and Obama’s campaign. Linklater met with panels of kids to ensure the soundtrack for each scene authentically matched with the year represented onscreen.
The big picture is so complex that it seems petty to nitpick at the flaws, which can mostly be excused by the fact that life is messy too. “Boyhood” is a remarkably crafted, poignant film that compacts twelve years of living into the three well-spent hours it takes to watch it.