Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014) Review

So we've officially entered award season now that the Oscars have been revealed (for better or for worse...poor LEGO...) and judging by all the other awards, Boyhood is on track to win best picture like it has already for the others. With all the hype and great reviews surrounding Boyhood, I decided to check it out and....yeah, I sure hope it DOESN'T win best picture. In fact, I wouldn't have even nominated it. So why am I going against the majority and being difficult? Let's find out.

Filmed over the course of 12 years, we follow the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows up before our very eyes along with his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). Mason and Samantha endure many trials throughout their early lives such as their parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) splitting up, their mother struggling with day to day life alone, moving houses and meeting new people along the way. Boyhood acts as a fictional

Right, so what DIDN'T I like about this supposed 'masterpiece'. Firstly is the gimmick. At first, it really works. It's wonderful that they kept the same cast for 12 years and we do get the feeling that we are watching them grow up. Here's the issue, towards the second half of the film, Mason stops growing. We reach the end of what the film is trying to sell us and we are left with a rather dull life story with no sense of progression. It's at this point I always realise that Ellar Coltrane is very bland. Unfair to say since they cast him when he was 12 years younger and it was a gamble as to how he'd turn out (what if he had died?).

Don't get me wrong, I'm still impressed that they managed to convey the objective that the set off with and can say that the film does have quite a lot going for it. Ethan Hawke is probably the best actor in the film alongside Patricia Arquette and the other people along the way do a good enough job. It's just the lead that isn't engaging when he's the focus. The first half when he's growing up is great as it did actually make me look back about my child hood. I guess if that's what the film was trying to make the audience do, they succeeded. I'll give it that much.

Boyhood is good. That's it. It's a nifty idea for a film that succeeds on those merits but not much else. The supporting cast are good but the lead isn't very interesting and the film stops dead in its tracks in the second half of the film. It is a long film anyway and having a film that drags is the last thing you want. So you probably think that Birdman will be my film of the year instead (well, maybe Guardians of the Galaxy) since I found Boyhood to be underwhelming. You'd be wrong. There is one film left for this week and I have one question for you: was Boyhood rushing or was it dragging?

It has a nice idea for a film but the film stops dead in its tracks and leaves on an underwhelming note.

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