14 July 2014

Boyhood, 2014 - ★★★★

As the glowing reviews of Boyhood started flooding in I began to worry that this was going to be another one of those films that everybody else loved and I didn't get. I desperately tried to lower my already fairly high expectations with the hope that I would come away as elated as everybody else. Sadly that didn't happen. I liked Boyhood, I liked it a lot but I was constantly wondering when the magic was going to happen which would make it truly special.

There's no denying that it's a remarkable achievement although not as unique as people think with Michael Winterbottom employing a similar technique for Everyday a few years back (although Linklater must have started earlier). I couldn't help but think back to the documentary American Promise, which I saw earlier this year, following two boys over a similar time period. The highly flawed documentary focussed on education but was the fact I'd already experienced those boyhoods on film preventing me from being awed by another childhood being depicted on screen. Of course there's a huge difference between fact and fiction but how much of Linklater's film is to do with the film making experience and capturing the factual side of growing up. Would the film be receiving the same praise if it had been made in a more traditional way with different child actors and make up?

Like Under The Skin (another film that I didn't especially enjoy on my first viewing but has stuck with me like nothing else throughout the year) Boyhood feels like more than just a film. The wonderful way in which time just passes by from one moment to the next make it feel like you have experienced the life rather than just watched it. Nothing may appear to be happening but at the same time the most amazing things are taking place.

There wasn't really much about Boyhood that I disliked. Like most films it could've ended sooner, although everything in the closing scenes works so well. Throughout the film I thought the sister was a much more interesting character and would have preferred her to be the focus - but that would be a completely different film. I suspect (and hope) when I revisit the film I'll experience the magical spark that everybody else is feeling but it just wasn't there for me on this viewing and I'm still trying to come to terms with that disappointment.

July 14, 2014 at 11:02PM

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