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Boyhood (2014)

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast overview: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette
Running time: 165 minutes

In some ways, Boyhood is a film unlike any other. Yet in many ways, it's not. It's a film exploring the transition of the protagonist's - Mason - life from the age of five to the age of eighteen. It manages to take what is an innovative concept and turn it into something relatively mundane, though you could argue that the mundanity stems from the concept itself.

Filmed over a period of twelve years, it's a film in which actual character progression seems relatively lacking, in which the acting is often unconvincing and flat, and in which the novelty wears off fairly soon. Once you get the idea that we're essentially seeing the characters growing older on film, you've essentially grasped the film itself. It's also very slow, and overlong. I don't mind long films provided you feel you're actually working towards something. Here you essentially knew the ending at the beginning.

As mentioned, this is a great concept marred by lacklustre execution. There's very little action - and I don't mean action in the obvious sense, but some sense of drama would have been nice rather than over two hours of prosaic, uninteresting and unengaging dialogue. Yes, there are good points - an excellent soundtrack among them - but there are too many issues here for me to give it a good rating.

Samantha: [as the family leaves their house for the last time before moving] Goodbye, yard! Goodbye, crepe myrtle! Goodbye, mailbox! Goodbye, box of stuff Mommy won't let us take with us but we don't want to throw away. Goodbye, house, I'll never like Mommy as much for making us move!
Mom: Samantha! Why don't you say goodbye to that little horseshit attitude, okay, because we're not taking that in the car.

Dad: [Mason Jr. bowls a gutterball] Alright, don't worry about it.
Mason: I wish I could use the bumpers...
Dad: You don't want the bumpers, life doesn't give you bumpers.

Samantha: [after leaving Bill's family for good] Why couldn't we take Randy and Mindy with us?
Mom: Because sweetie, I'm not their legal guardian, that would be kidnapping; it's against the law.
Samantha: Couldn't you talk to their mom?
Mom: I tried their mom, but I can't reach her.
Samantha: Well, what's going to happen to them?
Mom: [starts crying] I don't know...
Samantha: Why are you crying?
Mom: Because I don't have all the answers.

Ellar Coltrane, who plays the boy of the title, was 7 years old when the movie started filming and 18 when it finished.

Richard Linklater cast his daughter Lorelei Linklater as Samantha because she was always singing and dancing around the house and wanted to be in his movies. At about the third or fourth year of filming, she lost interest and asked for her character to be killed off. Linklater refused, saying it was too violent for what he was planning (Lorelei eventually regained her enthusiasm and continued with the project).

The film was shot over 45 days from May 2002 to August 2013.