Written by / 8/07/2014 / No comments / , , , ,

RICHARD LINKLATER DIRECTS BOYHOOD

year: 2014 rating: **
Twelve years in the making, Richard Linklater creates the story of a boy who grows and progresses and/or regresses before our very eyes, sparing us the inconsistency of child actors becoming teens they don't resemble…

But there are other drawbacks to BOYHOOD, including the main character Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane. While his aging provides a unique device, Mason's drab personality becomes even more comatose and calculated throughout the years. By the time he’s a teenager there’s hardly any pulse at all.

From being nitpicked by an alcoholic stepfather to weathering several monotone bullies, he wields the same void expression, as does older sister, Samantha, played by the director’s daughter Lorelei, morphing from obnoxious brat into awkward whiner into an attractive dorm girl. This causes the adults... which includes a hard-working Mom played by Patricia Arquette, who, divorced from an endearing yet deadbeat Dad, Ethan Hawke, winds up marrying a couple jerks in the process... to work even harder to move things along.

Just Plain Dullfaced
Combining real actors with real people does have its merit, providing a documentary vibe and making everyone seem like they’re existing rather than performing, underlined by shifting technology and politics ranging from CDs turning into iPods, furious rants against Bush, a lecture on Bristol Palin, a Confederate flag-waving conservative, and a lady who thinks Obama is sexy. In an attempt to have politics shape the decade, certain people seem like contrived ventilators for an obvious and distracting agenda. Perhaps if more things were going on within the character's lives, these rants wouldn't be as noticeable, serving more as an afterthought than advertisement. Meanwhile, the music provides a more subtle touchstone throughout the years. But no matter what the current trends, by the time Mason becomes a long-haired teenager, on the verge of graduating high school and about to venture into college, he’s such a smug hipster that even dad's fun insights, from putting out campfires to the legacy of The Beatles, or random lectures from bosses and teachers, seem lost on deaf ears.

So while praise is in order to Linklater for partaking in such a creative and arduous task, a child, no matter what age, has to be interested to be interesting.
For the real life aging thing done correctly, check out Michael Apted's inredible UP SERIES
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