Boyhood Review

I first heard about this film in March. The concept of filming someone for 12 years was fantastic, and the trailer led me to believe that this would be an unbelievable film. Unfortunately for a few weeks the film was only released in limited theaters. There has been a lot of hype building up from both critics and the audience, so when I finally got to see it I had high expectations. While I do think this is a great film, it did not resonate with me like it did with others.
12 Years in the Making
I love how director Richard Linklater filmed on and off for a period of 12 years. The natural progression of the characters made the film feel far more realistic, and relatable for the audience. Seeing how each character started off, and watching them grow was very rewarding. Ellar Coltrane is the lead in this film, and he does a fairly good job. His acting definitely shows growth with age, but he was not perfect. There were times where he did not seem natural, when other times he did. As far as his character, I thought he had sufficient growth. The core of his character remained the same, while he had subtle growth. While he was the main character, I thought Ethan Hawke’s and Patricia Arquette’s characters were more interesting. They experienced more growth, and were given some interesting plot lines. While there was no technical overarching story, the film is very clearly about growing up. Through each age there is a new obstacle that the characters must overcome, which is a great outlook on our own lives. There are certain milestones that we reach in our lives, but we mainly deal with bumps in the road. The film did a good job establishing each time period, as well as, using popular songs of those periods. The cinematography was also extremely well done.
Life Doesn’t Give you Bumpers
While there certainly is much to behold in this film, it does have several drawbacks. For one, the acting fluctuates too much. Coltrane’s sister in the film was not very good, and her character was a bit irritating. There was a particular scene involving high school seniors that was just poorly acted all around, with bad writing as well. Moments like these took me out of the film, and lessened my experience. The film also offered commentary on ongoing issues, but they were handled rather harshly. The film would have felt more natural if they handled these issues more subtly. Another issue with the film is the ending. I was not sure how they were going to end it, but I was slightly disappointed with their decision. There was a much better way to end the film about 5 minutes earlier, which would have definitely left it on a high note.
Closing Remarks
This is a by no means a bad film, but it is not a masterpiece. It has some compelling material, but fails to deliver with the overall product. Nevertheless, this is a very unique film and should be experienced by everyone.
Boyhood

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