Desiring just a relaxing night, Sidney and I decided to rent a movie at the local Redbox kiosk and stay in. Right when we got up to the screen and saw the selections on the first page we knew what we wanted: “Boyhood.”
Successful at the Golden Globes and a frontrunner for a big night at the Academy Awards, “Boyhood” is the darling of the movie world right now. Making the movie such a standout is that it was amazingly filmed over an actual 12-year period. That’s right, filming for the movie spanned from May of 2002 through October of 2013. The film follows a cast of family members for over a decade, centering on a boy who starts out in first grade and sees him all the way through high school graduation. It was a no-brainer for me, I needed to see this movie that was so patiently and artistically done.
The nearly three hour movie is smooth. The film begins and it pretty much just glides through the 12 years from point A to point B. It never becomes too slow but it never really climaxes either. The acting is great and the life events experienced by the characters are real and relatable. I laughed quite a few times and teared up once or twice. Although not a bore by any means, the movie couldn’t convince Sidney to keep her eyes open as she fell asleep about halfway in. It kept my attention the whole way through and for the most part I enjoyed myself while watching “Boyhood.”
Before I get to the major issue I have with the film, I do want to give it some credit. The character development over the years is intriguing to watch. Watching the characters physically change before your eyes and knowing that it is completely natural is pretty cool. The way the film depicts the characters changing in a personality/maturity/coming of age sense is equally as rad. The transformation of the boy who stars in the film, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), is fulfilling to watch. The character of the mom (Patricia Arquette) provides entertainment solely on the sense of her different appearances through the years. But who really stole the show for me was Ethan Hawke, who played the dad. The growth his character shows throughout the film was touching and respectable. If you do watch “Boyhood,” you will enjoy Hawke’s performance.
“Boyhood” is a nominee for Best Picture. In fact, it is the favorite to actually take the award home. While it is a well-done, creative movie I shudder at it winning the award for the best movie of the year. I eluded to it above and will circle back to it again, the movie is pretty much about nothing. There is no plot, climax, or major struggle. It follows a family while depicting the challenges and everyday life events that occur during a 12-year period when individuals grow from kids to young adults and inexperienced parents navigate the waters and turn into mature parents. While watching the movie a light bulb never went off in my head, my adrenaline never raced, I was never struck hard with emotion, nor did I ever feel impacted by it.
Now I understand that you don’t necessarily need any of these things to produce a good movie. Heck, “Boyhood” is proof of it. Although lacking a major plot, I was entertained for three hours as the 12 years played out. But while a good movie doesn’t need anything special, an Academy Award Best Picture movie does. “Boyhood” doesn’t deliver the “it” factor. It didn’t come close to blowing me away.
I really respect the approach the filmmakers and cast took to making this movie. To devote 12 years to a project shows complete dedication and vision (not to mention it shows a lot of guts too…major gamble). But just because you create a movie in an unconventional and creative way shouldn’t automatically win you the highest award in the movie business. I needed more from “Boyhood” to realistically consider it as the best movie of the year. Don’t Blink.