Film Review: Circumstances of Life, Truth Exist in ‘Boyhood’

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CHICAGO – Life is made up of moments, as the philosophy of the new Richard Linklater film wants to convey. What formulates a person’s ideals and soul, born in a certain place and time? Over 12 years, the writer and director created a fictional family using the same actors in “Boyhood.” Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

The film is more than an experiment, it feels seamless – if you didn’t know that Linklater used the same actors over 12 years, you might think brothers portrayed the main character. Using precise time markers, mostly in technology, the director shows the growth, philosophy and aging process of one star-crossed family in Texas, who manage to survive in the way they know how to, with all their mistakes and sacrifices. The film is nearly three hours, but because of how fascinating their story becomes, it seems like a moment.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane, from age six to 18) is a product of a broken home, and that becomes apparent when his absent father (Ethan Hawke) comes back into his life as the film begins. His mother (Patricia Arquette) wants nothing to do with the Dad, and moves Mason and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) to Houston.

The years race along, and mother begins a path toward becoming a college professor. In the interim she meets Bill (Marco Perella), one of her teachers, and he becomes her second husband. His two kids merge with hers, and life modifies until Bill’s drinking issues wreaks havoc with his relationships. Moving on, the family seeks refuge with a friend, and Mason’s father becomes a presence when he moves nearby. There are more marriages, more family decisions and a growth into his own individuality for Mason.

“Boyhood” continues its limited release in Chicago on July 18th. See local listings for theaters and show times.Featuring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Marco Perella. Written and directed by Richard Linklater. Rated “R”

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Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke
Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and Dad (Ethan Hawke) Explore ‘Boyhood’
Photo credit: IFC Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Boyhood”

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