|By Mal Vincent, The Virginian-Pilot|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Devoid of melodrama it is, literally, the history of one boy's life as recorded by director
"Boyhood" is a movie adventure that, because of its concept alone, becomes a candidate for this year's 10-best list.
It traverses the ordinary: getting the first haircut, going to baseball games with the father, camping out, the first talk about sex with the parents as compared to the same discussion with peers, the first girlfriend, plans to go to college. The bases are touched in the most ordinary, familiar ways -- and yet we flow with it in a way that makes the running time seem brief.
Linklater ("Dazed and Confused," "Before Sunset") has a checkered past as a director.
Because it is novelty filmmaking -- in the duration of shooting and use of cast -- "Boyhood" is likely to be a "specialist" film for a certain audience. It is novelty filmmaking that smacks of a stunt -- even if the stunt is engrossing.
While it's the type of movie that
Those "real" people should see for themselves. "Boyhood" touches you in very personal ways that have more to do with your own identity and memory than with the film itself.
We are persuaded to get outside ourselves and see life first from the viewpoint of a child, then from the viewpoint of a boy and, finally, from an evolving adult. It can be a revelation if you work with it. As a coming-of-age vehicle, it could be to the movies what "Catcher in the Rye" is to literature.
The most disturbing early scene is the way the boy, Mason, views his parents arguing. His mother, played by
How does this make him feel? The camera does its work without words.
His father, played by
Hawke, a soft academic type, is miscast, but he works hard to overcome it -- though he never quite does.
Mom wants nothing more of him, although she does tolerate his visits to pick up the kids. She marries a college professor who turns out to be an alcoholic abuser.
The jumps in time occur with no warnings. Just onto the next scene. It's a bit puzzling in that we don't know how much time has passed. We just know the characters look older -- and the adults age a good deal more than do Mason and his pals.
What we do realize is that Mason is a sensitive type. He is embarrassed that his sister bowls better than he does. He has no interest in sports. He wants to become a photographer.