The biggest gimmick about Boyhood was the ambition. For 12 years, Linklater contracted the same cast to meet for a few days and shoot his movie project. In 2 hours and 45 minutes, we watch 6-yearold Ellar Coltrane grow up to become a college freshman. The plot is that simple, yet it is the genuine moments in between that is giving Boyhood it’s Oscar buzz.
Mason Jr. (Coltrane) and his big sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) live with their divorced mom (Patricia Arquette). Their Father (Ethan Hawke) works in Alaska. When financial times get tough in the summer of 2002, Mason’s family moves to Houston to stay with their grandmother.
As a struggling single parent, mom attends college and dates successful men. The father visits on the weekends, and shows Mason and Samantha a good time, and discusses his hatred of President George Bush and the meaning of life.
As Mason matures in the Texas environment, the cute little kid grows into a long haired teenager who is only interested in his art. At times, Mason is irresponsible, other times he is a dutiful son who is always in search of meaning.
Boyhood concludes with a-blink-and-you-miss-itmoment, but the final lines serve Richard Linklater’s philosophy found in his Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight trilogy about the importance of “carpe diem.” The sad thing about Mason is that he is under the influence of hash brownies as he comes to his big revelation.
Heavily influenced by cinema verite icons Francois Truffaut, Satyajit Ray and Vittorio De Sica, the beauty of Boyhood is that it is a film that is open to interpretation. Despite the use of profanity that is appropriate, Boyhood is a film to see with the family in the afternoon, if only for the family discussion afterward.