Boyhood – Richard Linklater’s Watching a boy grow up

There’s this movie called Boyhood that stars this kid that they used for all the different ages and it took them like 20 years to make it. Here, watch the trailer.


Ok, sounds interesting right? It stars Ellar Coltrane as the main character Mason that we watch grow up. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents, and Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha. I’m not sure whether I should review this as a movie or as an experiment in art creation? Clearly a lot of passion went into making this film. No one signs on to make a movie over a decade without really wanting the end result to be solid.

I remember when this was released I was super excited to see it cause I loved the idea of seeing this kid grow up into a man all with the same actors playing their parts and seeing the progression of their age, of society and technology around them. I was so excited about it that after the initial buzz I completely forgot about it and never watched it.

That is until tonight. Tonight my wife put it on (it’s currently on NetFlix) and we started the en-devour that is watching Mason grow from a boy to a man.

So how was it?

The first thing I want to point out is that this movie is long. We didn’t realize how long until we were an hour and 30 minutes in, paused it to see how much was left and saw that was only the half way point. I didn’t realize I was watching Lord of the Rings here. The movie is kind of slow. There are several scenes that probably could have been left out and it wouldn’t have hurt the overall narrative. Although, I think the length is appropriate given that we are literally watching this boy, and the other kids around him, grow up in real time. I think maybe this should have been split up into two movies released back to back.

I get from a story telling point of view that you want to keep it as one because it’s one story and if you split it up you are splitting the story. Even with that, it’s long and hard to get through in one sitting if your not ready for it. I feel the same way about any move that crosses that 3 hour mark, trust me.

Ellar Coltrane is fantastic in this movie. Watching him grow up is amazing. What I love most about him is that throughout the whole thing he feels like a real person, someone I could have gone to school with. It’s so hard when you watch movies and everyone is this pretty caricature of a person with manufactured flaws. I felt Mason had real issues that got dealt with in a real way. Some didn’t get resolved, because that’s life.

Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are fantastic as always. They always turn in a solid performance in movies they are in, and the actors around them feed of their talent. I loved that they both felt very real as well, like parents of friends of mine that I knew. Or some parents of my kids friends now.

Final thoughts?

I’m glad I finally got to see Boyhood. I’m glad that it was as long as it was, even though I suggested splitting it. That was only because I wanted to take a break halfway through, but I’m glad I didn’t. I hope Ellar Coltrane goes on and does some more things I want to see, because I felt he was one of the best parts of this film. I loved that they had issues, that it felt “real” and that it was a movie about growing up, but there was no real “obstacle” to overcome, it was just life from boyhood to adult.

Hats off to you Richard Linklater. Your experiment worked wonders to dazzle my brain.

What do others think?

You shouldn’t only hear it form me right? Well check out these links about this movie that might be helpful!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.