The Disappointment of Boyhood By Marcus Zizzou

By Marcus Zizzou  

High on my can’t wait to see list Richard Linklater BOYHOOD arrived in the cinemas with stunning reviews, and as I settled down to see it my expectations were very high and why not? The recently third instalment of the ‘Before series was such a success. So afterwards why did I leave feeling I had seen a decent picture but no masterpiece. With a fair number of shoddy moments and scenes that bothered me.

 1. Missed opportunity – Kenneth Turan’s(L.A TIMES,See link below for full article) quote ‘at best , ok, a film whose animating Idea is more interesting than its actual satisfactions’. I totally agree

2. The film felt very surface level, skirting over many of the

characters and age changes that felt bolted together

3. There are no iconic characters, no Jessie, Celine, Wiley Wiggins or even a Wooderson.

4. The children in places talked unnaturally and felt that the speeches were scripted and read out as so. My children certainly don’t talk in that way and that put me out of the room, it hasn’t got that Stand by me back and forth, or the Max Records in Where the Wild Things Are.

Boyhood Image

5. Patricia Arquette really struggled in the first half of the film in my opinion, maybe she didn’t have the right material?

6. A major problem for me was the first stepdad he was ridiculously over the top and caricatured, he had no character arc. Totally unbelievable.

7. I frequently have leaky tear ducts but nothing here, the cobbled together scenes left me emotionless to the ending.

8. I was hoping that Linklater was hoping to give us some memorable scenes of the passing of youth, but not much stood out and there were a couple of poor ones including a clumsy peer pressure sketch and an awful golf segment.

9. For a 165 minute movie the ending seemed very rushed, the graduation of Mason and the climax of the film felt premature.

It seems like I am hammering Boyhood but I enjoyed it, the time passed quickly but they could have spent more time with the family members. Maybe I was expecting too much, it was no Wonder Years, Mason did not have the charm of Kevin. Also was no Tree of Life as it has been compared. A water down Hollywood mainstream version maybe. But Malik’s deft touch with father and son set pieces is by far superior in my eyes. Boyhood was worth the watch for sure but the height was not met.

Boyhood : Review by Barry Cox

by Barry Cox 

 

DIR: Richard Linklater
CAST: Ellar Cotrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater
CERTIFICATION: 15
UK RELEASE DATE: 11th July 2014

Winner of the ‘Golden Bear’ at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Richard Linklater’s 18th film marks a groundbreaking achievement for the director. The idea and execution of using the same actors – only shooting for three three days a year over the course of a 12 year period – may have seemed too grandiose, yet it must be applauded for the audaciousness and ingenuity, as it something of a miracle that he has pulled it off.

Linklater has always been a filmmaker intrigued with time, with ‘Dazed and Confused’, the semi-autobiographical coming of age comedy, is set within a 24 hour period. Then there’s the ‘Before’ trilogy, with each film set 9 years apart, Linklater returns to the same characters, played by the same actors, to see what effect time has had on them.
In Boyhood, the passage of time is more obvious as we can without any doubt, see the changes on screen. Not only to Ellar Coltrane, but also with Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater.  We can see the change in them physically, the greying of hair, the seeping of voices, etcetera. This style of filmmaking, almost treated like a memory of Mason’s, resonates like a memory of mine. Showcasing what we all go through as part of our evolution to becoming an adult.

The film isn’t as solely contained to its main protagonist as the title suggests, each of the above characters also experience growing pains, wether it be moving house, new husbands/wives or jobs, yet, what is paramount in Mason’s story, is the way everything that is said to him, or that effects him, effects us. We have all endured the “I only want what’s best for you” parental anecdotes, and we have all ignored the “You need to be more responsible” ones. Yet, these are the moments that allow the feelings of Mason to come to fruition, and how they affect him going forward.
What is so refreshing here, is the way Linklater is seemingly letting the camera be where it needs to, allowing the actors to be relaxed, showcasing their performances in manner that never feels contrived, but natural and honest. A meticulous approach to a simple coming-of-age story.

Ultimately, ‘Boyhood’ isn’t really so much about time, it’s about consciousness, it’s about choices, and it’s about the beauty of naivety. Linklater has pushed the boundaries of filmmaking without losing artistic integrity, with a stellar cast, and beautiful performance from Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood may just be the film of 2014.

Barry Cox