If you haven’t seen Boyhood, do yourself a favor and immediately go and rent it. Turn off your phone and devices, make a good snack (it is a longer movie) and just sit and reflect on what you see on the screen because it is riveting.
Let’s just take a moment to commend Richard Linklater for dedicating 12 years of his life to creating this coming-of-age movie that is, largely, about a boy growing into adulthood but it’s also about the different stages in our lives and how we never, ever stop changing and evolving. We may get older but we will still make mistakes (sometimes really big ones) but, if we choose to move on and push forward, we will get the chance to make even more mistakes. That’s all we can hope for because those challenging moments are how we learn.
Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette take on their roles with breathtaking honesty. It’s no surprise at all that they, along with the film, are being praised and recognized this awards season. At the Golden Globes, Arquette won for Best Actress, Linklater won for Best Director and the film won Best Motion Picture in the Drama category. Additionally, the project has earned six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor/Best Actress nods for Hawke and Arquette.
Considering the fact that there were large gaps of time between filming, it’s absolutely stunning that the actors (including the kids, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelai Linklater) were able to remain in character in a way that flowed effortlessly. Hawke was convincing as the sometimes absentee but loving father who provided guidance and stability in the kids’ ever-changing world.
It was Patricia Arquette, however, who brought down the house. Honestly, I’ve always liked her but she can be really underutilized and underappreciated. In this film, she’s allowed to just flourish and show us the true scope of her talents. As a mother who also has not taken the “traditional” route in life (I tried, I really tried!), I sat there dumbfounded by how real things got for this woman and her children.
We see the frailty and failings of parents but we also see the beautiful resilience of human beings. The movie shows us how possible it is to love someone who makes terrible decisions and how much the development across our lifespan never really changes. We age, we have “grown up” relationships, we become parents but the problems really stay the same. We are constantly trying to figure out who we are at different stages in life and it’s incredible to watch that unfold. Sometimes, we end up being something entirely different than we ever expected. Sometimes, the hero is the person who seemed like they had the most flaws. Sometimes, there isn’t a hero. Most times, we need to just accept that things are always changing and we should just roll with the punches. We can strive for perfection but we won’t likely obtain it.
Give Boyhood a chance but be ready for truth on the screen and it’s not always pretty. You will probably learn some things about life and you may reflect on things that have happened in your family with renewed appreciation. In the meantime, check out the trailer:
Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures