It’s been pointed out —by me among others– that a great deal of my blogposts are reviews. That being said, Boyhood is no ordinary film. It took 12 years to make, and runs for a hefty two hours and forty minutes because of it. I see it as a very important piece of cinematic history, partially because of its experimental nature, but also due to its excellence in narrative.
As an actor points out in an interview, the beauty of the movie is that it never goes for the obvious milestones in life. It doesn’t even attempt to find a cohesive set of events. The sampling from each year serves as a vignette, a small slice of the characters’ lives. Thanks to the high concept premise, this works unprecedentedly well. It’s likely a concept that could not be faked particularly well, and relies on the actors themselves showing the real changes of time. This truth in aging pays off incredibly well.
The scenes themselves are well acted in a consistently natural and relatable way. Despite the fact that we see the child actors mature over twelve years, their performances remain strong throughout. On the other hand, they won’t go down in history as my favorite characters. While extremely sympathetic, the main character, Mason, can also come across as somewhat bland.
The term the movies goes with to describe him is “sullen” and it comes across more as he matures. But he has his occasional profound moments to make up for the duller ones. Regardless of how subtle moments in the film are, they all read as genuine. And the level of detail that goes into each small story is staggering.
In summation, I’d highly recommend this for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s not a light film, and it’s never particularly funny or thrilling. But it stands as a bold example that films need be neither to be deep, enjoyable, and engaging.