Crafted over a 12-year span of time, Boyhood is by far one of the most ambitious films ever made. Each year for 12 years, Richard Linklater made a small short film with four actors making small time lapses of their fictional characters. The best part of all that on more than an experimental level is that it works beautifully as a complete narrative chronicling the lives of this small broken family.
The movie begins with Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) as a small eight-year-old boy who alongside with his sister Sam (Lorelei Linklater) live with their single parent mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette). The children’s father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) isn’t even revealed in the first segment because that’s the father he initially is.
We know these characters. We know exactly who Mason Sr. is and we think we know where his life is going. He’s the cool dad who comes to see his kids every other weekend and drives around in a Ponatic GTO and we think he’s going to amount to nothing because that’s how the story goes. Boyhood goes in directions that are unpredictable at every step because that’s just how life is. Life isn’t a simple series of steps that work out exactly how we expect them.
Any number of things could have gone wrong with this film but luckily they didn’t. Linklater’s confidence in himself as a writer and director shows in Boyhood as he crafts a story about growing up, parenting, and everything in between. Boyhood is Richard Linklater’s best film to date and one of the best films of the year. Often overlooked as a director, Linklater’s Boyhood is a film that no film-goer should miss with its very honest and intriguing look at human life.