Hello my field daises!
Recently I went to see Boyhood, a movie about a boy turning into an adult. The unbelievable part? Multiple actors do not play each life stage. Instead this movie was shot over a tweleve-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, actually showing the characters growing and changing in real time. Watching it was do real, reminding me of moments of my childhood and making me realize how quickly we grow up and the brevity of life. This post is my review of the movie, my thoughts and my feelings of this incredible journey.
*Spoilers From Here On Out*
Boyhood does not have the normal 3 act structure that most movies have. Instead, there are snippets of life, and sometimes the movie can seem boring. But that’s life. When asked by people of what actually happens in the movie, director Richard Linklater admits not much. In his interview to Film4, Richard calls Boyhood “a collection lesser moments,” and that’s a pretty good way to describe our memory of the past. Why are certain moments in our childhood burned into our memory? There is no real rhyme or reason, but we all agree we remember certain ones more. Our first bad haircut, going to prom, our first real break up. These things stick with you.
No warning is given when one year ends and another year starts. The only way you can tell a year has passed is by observing the surroundings. Firstly and most obviously by the physical appearance of the characters. The children are the ones where you see the most growth. The adults change a lot too, and you can see this a lot in the father’s friend, Jim, who you see in the beginning of the movie when Mason is a boy and then at the end right before he goes to college. Cultural references also give indication to different years, such as songs or who is currently in office. Technology also progresses and changes. It is amazing to see what was considered a video game in the early 2000s. And in the land before cell phones, the only way to reach your friend was through a landline. If your sister happened to be on the line well too bad for you. You don’t get to tell your friend you’re moving away forever. The progression of Apple products is also quite astounding. FaceTime to me is the pinnacle of technological advancements. I use it all the time to keep touch with friends from home. We always joke around about being able to pass objects to one another through FT. Who knows maybe one day that’ll be possible.
The person I felt the worst for was the mother. She has the worst of luck with men. She basically raises her son, Mason, and her daughter, Samantha, on her own, with the father of her children only coming every other weekend to take the kids out. Each husband she had there after looked like they had potential but were really just hot headed and alcoholics. And she never got her silver lining either.The last scene we see of her is when Mason is packing his things to go off to college. Out of nowhere she starts crying. She has this moment of realization that her life is half gone, and the little ones she sacrificed so much for are finally grown up, leaving her alone in a one bed room apartment. She finally gets the “freedom” she craved when the kids were little, but she is too old now. Single after being three times divorced doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it.
The father ends up finding his happiness with another woman, someone who is compatible to his wild musician side. My favorite scene is when he is talking to Mason at Jim’s gig. It’s just a good father and son scene. He helps Mason get over his high school breakup and also hints at that he has become the boring guy Mason’s mom wanted him to be and if she just would have given him time… Then Mason says that would have saved me from the parade of drunk assholes. The father then does the my-lips-are-sealed motion with his fingers. That’s my favorite part. He knows that subject is off limits and him saying anything on it would just add salt onto the wound. It’s that sort of familial closeness that makes this movie so special.
Another favorite moment of mine is the parts with Ronald Ruiz. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any screen shots of him in the movie, so his headshot will have to do. In the movie, he plays a plumber named Enrique. The mother tells him he is smart and should go to college. Later he reappears completely changed as the manager of the restaurant where the mom, Mason and Samantha are dining. They don’t remember him, but he remembers them because the mother changed his life. He tells them that lunch is on him and how he is so grateful he got the chance to thank the mother. He tells the kids that they should listen to her because she is a smart woman. His part was small, but shows how we impact people without even realizing it, which is such a good lesson.
The one character that I wish had more depth was Mason’s sister, Samantha. All the others experience so much growth and change, but her character remains the same. She is always the sister who always the tattle tales on her brother. She has this unrelentless hate towards him that is hard to watch. I don’t understand why she hates him so much, but maybe because me and my brother don’t have that kind of relationship. She is also always being a pain in her mother’s side, groaning when she has to switch schools high schools and groaning when she give away the stuff she isn’t taking to college. She never grows up, and that’s just unfortunate.
I think Rolling Stone got it right when they said, “There has simply never been anything like this movie.” No one has done what Richard Linklater has done, and that in itself writes this movie into the history books, setting the stage for a new movie genre: Real Time Movies. Now I just made this term up, so I doubt it will be called that in the future. But I would love to see more movies like this being made. Movies that capture life in real time. Of course, they would take incredibly long to make and is not practical for all movies. It’s not game changing such as the transition from black and white to color or silent to sound. It won’t change the structure of how every movie is made. But hopefully other directors will take this concept and try to recreate it with their own writing and stores. Given the life span of a person, I would maybe only get to see 5 more of these types of movies if I’m lucky. So who knows? Maybe a movie like this can only happen once, and if that’s the case then so be it. I am just grateful I got to experience something so magical and rewarding. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It’s life changing.
Love ya’ll and thanks for reading!
Hope you have a daisyish day!