Movies

Boyhood

No Comments 30 January 2015

Boyhood

Very seldom does a film receive raving reviews like this:

Boyhood is an epic masterpiece that seems wholly unconcerned with trying to be one. Claudia Puig - USA Today

Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age tale is the best movie of the year, a four-star game-changer that earns its place in the cultural time capsule.  Peter Travers -Rolling Stone

In my 15 years of professional movie reviewing, I can’t think of any film that has affected me the way “Boyhood” did.  A.O Scott - New York Times

How could I not see Boyhood after such endorsement?  Let me first describe what Linklater tries to do in Boyhood Remember Linklater is the director of three films Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight that all take place on a single day. Linklater made a dramatic shift in his approach to films. Boyhood follows a boy in Texas from his 5th birthday until he turns 18. The filming started over 12 years and the same actors appear as the main characters through the entire film. It is has hard not to admire Linklater for the sheer persistence in developing the project over this long period of time. Just like it is to fun to look at the pictures of your siblings growing up and getting older and older, it is fun to see motions pictures of someone growing up. What I liked most about Boyhood was how he managed to transition from one time period in the boys life to another with a very gentle touch.  On the whole, I thought the film was good, but not as good as the critics suggested. While many critics are honest enough to acknowledge that Michael Apted first pursed the idea of following peoples’ lives with a camera, they do not reveal that Michael Apted succeeded better than Linklater.  The 7up series started with a dozen children in England in the 1960s. Acted has made a documentary about their lives every 7 years (7 UP, 7 Plus Seven, 21 UP ,28 UP, 35 UP, 42 UP, 49 UP and 56 UP). (I wonder whether when he will be too old to continue.) Linklater ostensively has made a film about a fictional boy. But it is really a film about himself growing up in Texas sprinkled with some fictional elements. I found the 7 UP series a lot more compelling precisely because it is not fictional. In 7 UP we are following the drama of the real live. The real masterpiece is not Boyhood but the 7 UP series.  You can order all 8 documentaries on Amazon as a collection for $43.

 

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Peter

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