Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, School of Rock) had an idea that, in effect, would take 12 years of his life! No one thought he'd do it but here we are, in 2014, and we have before us what is cinematic history with his latest film, Boyhood.


In 2001, Linklater (at the time, his latest film was the real time drama Tape) had an idea. It was a rather impractical, absurd and audacious idea that was crazy in every way possible. Oh, it was also going to absorb the director for about 12, or so, years.

He wanted to make a film that followed "the story of a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college". It was a unique and ambitious concept but had many potential flaws, like would he be able to find an actor that could dedicate so much time to one project? Would he be able to fit a decent narration around this notion? It was a gamble. Linklater revisited a few scenes each year and this project, in his words, was like a “summer camp art project”.

Linklater selected newcomer Ellan Coltrane to star front and center as Mason, who grows from a whimsical youngster, unsure of the world, into his own individual, a man. We're basically watching this boy grow up and he emerges as a true talent, drawing sympathy and emotion from the audience. We really connect to him.

The film covers 2001 to 2013 and begins with a 6 year old Mason, his older sister Samantha, their dad just back in town from a trip to Alaska and their mother Olivia struggling with single-parenthood. Mason and Samatha, of course, are buried by concerns of children as well as hope tht their parents will get back together. Meanwhile, their parents have their own problems and, whilst titled Boyhood, the film has lots to say about adulthood as it does childhood.

The cast, consisting of Patricia ArquetteEthan Hawke and Linklater's own daughter Lorelei as Samantha, are so superb in their roles that you forget they're acting. Each character is beautifully diverse, and incredibly acted, and contribute to the film’s dynamic in their own way.

One of the film's beauty's and little joys is the transition through the last decade - the build up to Obama's first election, watching Lady Gaga videos and even a chat about the future of Star Wars.
Though what captivates about Boyhood is the very unique way it's made. The whole film feels so real, to an extent that you forget you're watching a movie! It's a compelling bit of cinema that with a great script and superb cast, manages to be an insightful, powerful piece of filmmaking that intrigues and entertains the viewer.

Then we have the fact that it was filmed over 12 years!!! It's a long-term project and the first that sees the same one actor age from 6 to 18 throughout the film on-screen. This is remarkable grade A filmmaking from Linklater that has made history for cinema and it really does set the bar high for the future of film.

Boyhood is an utterly compelling piece of cinema that is a mesmerising and a stunning masterpiece! Linklater has outdone himself in what is an unforgettable drama.
★★★★★

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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