Boyhood, Bears, and Roger Bannister

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A system of cells interlinked
Will need to set a few mins aside to read this ASAP!
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"It doesn't do any good to say, 'This is what it means.' When you are spoon fed a film, people instantly know what it is. I like films that leave room to dream." - D. Lynch

Film Review by Sedai



It sounds like some of the critics have been saying the same thing that I said when I saw the movie. The most interesting thing about the movie is that it was filmed over 12 years, but the movie itself is just average.

If the same exact movie had been filmed like a normal movie, using several different actors to play the roles at different ages, this movie would have been quickly forgotten.



Boyhood is a beautiful work of art because it strains further against one of the boundaries of filmmaking than just about any other film ever has. This alone makes it remarkable, independent of the film's quality.
What's remarkable about Boyhood is its production, not the film itself.

But is it an example of a beautiful film, or beautiful filmmaking?
Can it be neither?

You have to decide whether or not the act of creating a film, rather than the film itself, can be the work of art.
It can't be a work of art if in the end the act of creating it amounts to mediocrity.



A system of cells interlinked
Great read! I certainly agree that the process, the pain, the suffering are what allow people to stamp something a work of art as opposed to just an image or a collection of words.

I see Boyhood as art. As previously mentioned, that film hit close to home with my particular pain, my struggle, my boyhood, so it worked for me on many levels.



Interesting essay, Yoda!

Originally Posted by Yoda
This alone makes it remarkable, independent of the film's quality. But is it an example of a beautiful film, or beautiful filmmaking? Should there even be a distinction between the two?
A film is the result of filmmaking, so, logically, beautiful filmmaking should make for a beautiful film.

Filmmaking is a very broad term, though. I think we can all agree that the usage of time in Boyhood is remarkable, beautiful even, but one aspect alone isn't enough to guarantee that the end result of something that involves such a great variety of things (that have nothing to do with the usage of time) will be any "good". Remarkable perhaps for that specific aspect, but not necessarily of a high quality overall. It can elevate the film, but it can never suffice to make all the other things irrelevant, especially if the intention of the film reaches further than just pushing limits (which is obviously the case here). At least, that's how I see it.

I personally think the product of all the "filmmaking factors" (with the usage of time obviously being one of the most important ones in this example) that Boyhood consists of, ultimately makes for a pretty interesting and meaningful film experience overall. Everything is balanced out in such a way that the central "gimmick" works very effectively and therefore greatly enhances the big picture.
That's how this highly subjective film came through to me, anyway. Some people seem to disagree with me on that, but that's a whole different discussion...

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I haven't seen Tim's Vermeer yet by the way, but the main premise of it seems fascinating. I should check it out. It's difficult to compare the art of painting to the art of filmmaking sometimes, though, in my opinion, because the former's process is so much narrower and more personal. There's (mostly) only one human factor that determines each painting (the artist himself) and if that single factor isn't pure anymore, then how does that affect our perception of the quality of the painting itself? Do we admire paintings because they're strictly made by humans?
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Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2018



What's remarkable about Boyhood is its production, not the film itself.
That's the premise, yeah; the question is whether or not one can appreciate that production as the work of art.

Can it be neither?
'Course.

It can't be a work of art if in the end the act of creating it amounts to mediocrity.
The act of creating something can only be beautiful if the result is, as well? Struggle and failure can't be beautiful?



Reaction to squished burgers, a mental breakdown.
I think people were expecting something more extravagant that what was actually depicted in Boyhood, I loved its down to earth approach personally. But others may have wanted more than just a normal boy growing up.

I probably would've hated if it was a kid with a sh*tty life, overcoming personal problems and going on to be a doctor or a lawyer. You know something overly sentimental.



The act of creating something can only be beautiful if the result is, as well?
In my estimation this is the case, yeah. Would the making of Birdman be seen as beautiful if Inarritu and Lubezki failed to pull off those impressive long takes? I don't think so. The difference between something like Birdman and Boyhood, for me, is that I think in the case of Birdman the effort was more than worth it, even if I didn't think the film was great, mainly because they achieved what they were going for and they did that nearly flawlessly.

With Boyhood, on the other hand, it just wasn't worth it. The creating of it is an impressive feat, but for me it starts and ends there.

I think people were expecting something more extravagant that what was actually depicted in Boyhood, I loved its down to earth approach personally. But others may have wanted more than just a normal boy growing up.
It's not about what is depicted, but how. For a project which took over 12 years surely you must set the bar a little higher as a viewer, you'd expect something more than just conventional storytelling, something more than just a depiction of a boy growing up (who happens to resemble a prop more than a character), or at the very least some subtlety or some subtext to chew on, none of which are present.

With that last part of your sentence you're right, wrong if you meant in terms of storyline.



Reaction to squished burgers, a mental breakdown.
It's not about what is depicted, but how. For a project which took over 12 years surely you must set the bar a little higher as a viewer, you'd expect something more than just conventional storytelling, something more than just a depiction of a boy growing up (who happens to resemble a prop more than a character), or at the very least some subtlety or some subtext to chew on, none of which are present.

With that last part of your sentence you're right, wrong if you meant in terms of storyline.
What I'm getting at is your qualms are with the execution, not the content. In terms of depth, it seems too lack on the surface but I think ageing helps a film in that aspect and upon multiple viewings, themes start to jump out at you. I've only watched Boyhood once but one thing in particular is the ending, it seems to have something resounding to say.

I need to watch it again to fully digest everything and I don't know, maybe you should give it another go?



Great essay, Yoda.

Also:

Or, as Orson Welles put it in The Third Man...
Nice.
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"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."



*Listens to Jingle Bells for the first time*
Have you seen The Third Man, Harry? I've never seen you reference it.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
If the same exact movie had been filmed like a normal movie, using several different actors to play the roles at different ages, this movie would have been quickly forgotten.

But then it wouldn't be the same movie. I don't think you can separate the film from the technique. It is the way it is BECAUSE of the technique. If it were filmed regularly, it wouldn't be Boyhood.

People seem to be hung up on how 'ordinary' it is, or lack of excitement. Well...that's life folks. Something Linklater wanted to capture. The mundane, ordinary aspects of life. Why do you think there is no title card to depict his age, he just ages throughout the film and we have to gauge how old he is. Why does he not focus on big lifetime events such as graduation? Something I'm sure every other filmmaker would have hit a note on...because it's the small things in life that we remember.

The film is a feeling, that's the best way to describe. It connects with many different people on different levels. Why? Because we remember those mundane things in our lives.
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Suspect's Reviews



Thank you TUS. I think you hit the nail on the head there. The beauty lies in the simplicty of what is filmed. Moments we take for granted, watching it makes me think how great life and being is, and I had a smile on my face most the way through. He captured a side of humans that felt real and honest, not scripted and clichéd focusing on events and action that easily could have been included to make the narrative more viewer friendly.
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Have you seen The Third Man, Harry? I've never seen you reference it.
I'm a walking, talking, eating, sh!tting reference to The Third Man.

edit: Wow. That word is censored. And on a family site too!



Loved this. I'm a massive fan of Boyhood, the influence of the "gimmick" is somewhat difficult to tease out for me.

In several interviews, Linklater mentioned that the film benefited from the downtime between shoots. It gave the scenes and script breathing room, he could think on and off about last years scene for 11 months before having to nail down exactly where he wanted to go with the next shoot. Is this part of the gimmick?

Seeing the characters naturally grow older is really interesting (similar to how I wasn't a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, but I have to admit it's interesting seeing them grow up over yearly iterations, and it helped grow attachment to the characters). Boyhood is odd in this regard because you usually have to use other actors to play younger or older versions of the characters, which can take away from some immersion, perhaps. Is it a gimmick that Boyhood has a natural progression?

To me, gimmick carries a connotation of unearned appreciation, and I don't think facets like this are gimmicks. If someone sat through the whole movie and enjoyed it simply because it just took so long to make, then I'd agree that enjoyment is somewhat gimmicky.

I also enjoy the section on word definitions, I've had similar discussions. Especially in context of genre definitions, which are also slippery and can often slide into "everything is every genre" if lines aren't drawn.

I'm going to have to come back to the Lantz rant when I have a chance to sit down with it.