Boy To Man (Film Thoughts: Boyhood)

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I have been dreading watching Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” because I have been intimidated by its length – two and a half hours. But I should not have been, because there was not one boring moment in this film. Shot over twelve years, Linklater has made a film that makes you (literally) watch a boy transform into a young man. Mason (Ellar Coltrane) in the beginning of the film starts out as a wide-eyed six year old, and by the end of the movie has just started his Freshman in college. I don’t know what Coltrane has done professionally, but he has this contemplative intensity as an actor, and especially in the later scenes, shows depth and sensitivity. I know Patricia Arquette has gotten accolades for her work here (and may probably win an Academy Award) and there is a scene towards the end of the film where she has a emotional breakdown, after realizing her son is going to college and she will be left alone. You feel her pain, because you feel like you have been there all along, as she made sacrifices and moved heaven and earth to have a better life for herself and her kids. That reduced me to a pool of tears. I think Ethan Hawke deserves just as much recognition. It was interesting to see not only how his looks have aged over he years, but also how he essayed his character evolving. Mason Sr. evolved from being a rabid bleeding Liberal to someone who marries a wife from a religious gun-loving family. It shows how we change and make concessions once we find the ones we love.  This is an emotionally affecting film, and I found it stayed with me after the film ended and I started thinking more not just about the characters, but on what life means for all of us.

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