Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Movie Review: Boyhood (2014)

Movie: Boyhood (2014)

Writer: Richard Linklater

Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, & Lorelei Linklater

One-Line Plot Synopsis: 12-years in the life of a boy growing up.

For a movie that was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and won one for Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress, I think that the idea and story behind the movie were actually much more compelling than the actual film.  The fact that the same group of actors, director, and crew met each year for a week or so every year for 12 years is a pretty crazy idea for a film.  Just the fact that everyone wanted to come back every year and that (sorry to be morbid but..) no one died is pretty lucky.  When all was said and done, the actual film was only shot over 45 days, but actually spanned more than 4,000 days from 2002 to 2013.  Since the actual time was so long, none of the cast were actually under contract for the film because California law only allows for you to be under contract on the same project for up to seven years, which is why you used to see actors so reluctant to sign up for TV shows in the early 2000's because of the inability to get out of such a contract.

As for the film itself, I felt that the story was very straight-forward and simple, but that doesn't mean that I didn't appreciate it.  It looked inside the intricacies of growing up in the type of family that is so common these days and thus speaks to this generation of kids who grew up with divorced parents and the tribulations that accompany your life under such circumstances.  

Anytime Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater are working together, I'm in.  Even though I wasn't completely in love with Boyhood, I still appreciate the determination and originality in such a project.  The one factor that Linklater couldn't really count on was knowing what a young boy actor would do or become over a 12 year period.  You sort of have to put your faith in the fact that he'll continue to want to act over his entire childhood and you can't really project what kind of actor he'll become over that time.  Unfortunately, since most of the movie hinges on the talent of the 'boy' in Boyhood, it comes up a little short since so much is put on the shoulders of young newcomer Ellar Coltrane's.

It's not really his fault since this was his first go-around at acting but facts are facts, and he wasn't all the way up to the daunting task put ahead of him.  Finding great child actors is really a crap shoot and finding a great one who hadn't acted before is even harder.  He wasn't terrible but he wasn't good enough to pull me deep within the family dynamic or this movie in general.

Rating: 6/10

Side Note: Samantha was played by Richard Linklater's daughter Lorelei.  A couple of years into filming, she decided she didn't want to be a part of the film anymore and wanted her father to kill her character off.  Richard thought that was too violent and out of place for the story of the film and fortunately, she came back around and got the acting bug again.