Writer and director Richard Lanklater hit a critics jackpot with Boyhood. ¬†The film is praised as a masterpiece and it’s tough to find anyone who doesn’t think it is The Godfather of 2104. Consider me the exception. ¬†Yes, I am in the minority here. ¬†The creation of Boyhood is interesting, but regardless of innovative film-making the movie s lacks passion and soul.
Boyhood’s main accolades focus is that it was filmed over a 12 year period, a first of its kind in filmmaking. The audience watches the characters grow, no special effects makeup or casting different actors. However, the lack of plot or story are never mentioned when describing Linklater’s latest. That’s because the film misses most of those elements. You won’t walk out of Boyhood saying, “That one scene was so incredible!”¬†If it wasn’t for the gimmicky, how-the-film-was-made publicity, the coming-of-age story¬†would be panned as unoriginal, predictable and boring. Boyhood is less of a movie and more of an experiment. Arguably, an experiment that ultimately works. But I would never sit through it again.
The film stars a 5-year-old Ellar Coltrane as Mason and follows him until he is 17 years old. Linklater filmed the movie every year or so as Coltrane and the rest of the cast aged. Coltrane’s performance is casual, natural and much of the dialogue is improvised. Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and the rest of the supporting cast are solid, but with a script that isn’t much different than an after school special (alcoholism, domestic violence, divorce, puberty, college). ¬†There’s no denying movie is destined for awards glory. However, the average moviegoer won’t see the brilliance alleged by critics and cinephiles.¬†For those of us who prefer a bit of story with our acting, the flick less conventionally entertaining, and more of an act of cinematic narcissism.
Boyhood is in theaters now.