Boyhood is an American coming-of-age drama, conceived, written and directed by Richard Linklater. It stars Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke.
I admit that rating this film was not an easy task. Its first half felt like a long episode of Seinfeld, but without the humor; or, in other words, slow and painfully boring. It reminded me of the 1960s experimental films such as Andy Warhol’s Eat, which consists of a man eating a mushroom for about 40 minutes... (if you have nothing better to do, you can click here to watch it.) But, having survived the earlier part of Boyhood, the story started growing on me, and I found the later part to be much better. Thus my three-star rating is simply the average of the first (2 stars) part, and the second half (4 stars). Rating explained and opinions aside, Boyhood is definitely a unique project; being intermittently shot over an eleven-year period (May 2002 to October 2013,) as Coltrane, the focal point of Boyhood, matures from a child of six y.o. to college age.
Boyhood features vignettes from an American family life, a life that is typical in some ways, yet unique in others. Some moments felt quite authentic, still, plenty a time I found myself asking why do I need to sit and watch on the big screen that which I have just left behind at home. Only reason, in my mind, to see a drama that represents real life, is if there is something to be learned. Sadly, at least for the earlier part of Boyhood, I did not feel rewarded. The intent was there but that somehow got lost in translation.
Coltrane, the young boy growing into a fine adult, does an excellent job acting his part, more so than the others, though the rest of the cast is overall okay. The dialogues, despite having partially been written by the actors themselves, feel, at times, staged, over talkative and even a little preachy, which is not uncommon with the Linklater's body of work. Still, if one has patience, Boyhood is a special film. It has a sense of lapse photography done with humans, reminding us - and not that we need reminding, of precious time slipping by.