Some years back, I watched a young Ethan Hawke babbling some pseudo-psychological lines that he was using to impress Julie Delpy in Paris. It was grating. I wanted to turn it off. I didn’t and I’m mercifully thankful for that. Indeed, some years on I can honestly confess that ‘Before Sunrise’ is one of my favourite films of all time; more importantly, it introduced me to the work of Director Richard Linklater who completed his ‘Before’ trilogy with the also incredible ‘Sunset’ and more recently ‘Midnight’. The resolution? of this trilogy left me and I’m sure countless others, hanging, in need of a serious Linklater fix.
It’s 2014 and enter Linklater’s latest offering ‘Boyhood’ – an unrelated film, but arguably, if we’re judging his total film-making output, it’s the best of the lot.
Much has and will be said of the undoubted logistical headache that Boyhood must have been to accomplish, filming the same key characters over a twelve year period between 2002 and 2014, tracking young Mason Jr and his family’s development over time. Heaven only knows how many constellations needed to align to make this film possible. It’s a gargantuan feat but there’s never any sense of anything being forced or contrived in Boyhood, instead the film flows effortlessly over this time period and whisks us up in its warmth, its sense of humanity and wonder taking us along on an incredible ride.
Ethan Hawke, so briefly, I’m ashamed to admit, a toe curling annoyance to me, is as fantastic as ever, superbly playing Mason’s divorced, largely absent, fun loving but ultimately genuine-of-heart father, whilst Patricia Arquette is equally impressive as Mason’s mother; her personal life a struggle, yet a stable and loving parent to her two children amidst the family’s trials and tribulations.
Boyhood is an astonishing, beautiful effort, resonating on a deep and at times profound level. A truly unique ‘slice of life’ masterpiece.
The one problem I have with Boyhood, is that it ended and I’m now in that familiar old position of having to figure out how I’m going to cope with this latest, Linklater-shaped film void in my life.
Absolutely (what I sincerely hope won’t be) a once in a lifetime, joyous cinematic event.