If this movie does not win Best Picture, and Richard Linklater does not win Best Director, there will be riots in the streets. This movie is not just the film of the summer; it is the film of the decade… literally. The movie revolves around the life of a young boy of seven years, and follows him on his boyhood journey until the age of 19. In theory, this is no new concept; the coming-of-age film has been approached from every different angle possible over the years — or so we thought. Pioneer and genius Linklater pulled off the unimaginable; he used the same cast from day one of filming in 2002 until the very last in late 2013. What results is something profoundly beautiful — a time-lapse-photography reminiscent phenomenon, where you take something ordinary and in watching the progression happen before your own eyes, you realize the magnificence innately inside of it — something that hits so close to home it’s almost unbearably sad and unbearably beautiful all at the same time — a true masterpiece.

 

For writer and director, Linklater, this movie was an enormous leap of faith. In movie making, there is a lot of thought and planning that has to go into the movie: which demographics are we aiming to appeal to, what is the appropriate amount of sad and happy scenes we need to balance this movie out, how much action does there need to be to keep an audience engaged, how much footage do we need simply to “get by,” and most of all, what is our funding going to look like for a project of this size? Linklater’s approach to this film was to ignore the rules, and make a movie that did justice to the vision he had in his head. In its execution, they could have lost funding at any time, in fact there was a year when they nearly lost funding on the project, but skated by nonetheless.

 

You can also probably imagine the level of commitment needed from the actors and the entire crew involved in the making of this film. You would think it would be difficult to find a group of people who believed enough in the project to commit such a large span of their lives to see it through. However, everyone involved in the making of this film knew the magnitude of it every step of the way, and in the end, it was their hard work and dedication that made it what we see in theaters today. In the words of Patricia Arquette, who plays the role of Mom in the movie, “We’d be talking about masterpieces and I would say, I am doing one right now… The thing is, I knew we were making something truly beautiful. Really human and so special to all of us.” 

 

Over the twelve years dedicated to this film, taking a few days out of every year to shoot another chapter in the lives of their characters, each of the actors inevitably felt such a strong connection and closeness to their own roles, and to the film as a whole. Speaking to the overall dedication to the movie, Arquette said, “even the crew kept coming back. They would move up in their careers, starting as PAs (production assistants) and become ADs (assistant directors) and yet they would come back and be a PA on this movie. They were that committed.”

 

Ellar Coltrane, in a still from the movie "Boyhood" (theverge.com)

Ellar Coltrane, in a still from the movie “Boyhood” (theverge.com)

Boyhood’ is a story about the importance of fleeting moments, and the constantly evolving way in which we see ourselves and the world around us,” Bryan Bishop commented in the New York Times. “Boyhood” is one of those rare movies you have to see to believe, and once you see it, you will be sitting in awe, drenched in your own tears and your neighbors’, wondering if you will ever be the same as before you watched it, and before you yourself came of age. At first, you may have reservations; sometimes, when a movie feels almost too close for comfort, you can start to feel uneasy as you start to watch your own life played out on the big screen, warts and all. However, as you continue to watch, you see the lives of these characters and the actors themselves unravel in real time. You watch the boy, Mason Jr. (played by Ellar Coltrane) blossom right before your eyes, and you begin to see the beauty in it; in the awe that is growing up, and over the span of time it takes for the movie to finish (a mere three hours), you will have confronted your own childhood along with the rest of the characters on the screen, and you will realize in the end that it is beautiful.

 

 

Have you seen this life-altering masterpiece? Share your thoughts in the comments below or find me on Twitter @JenksUOhMeASoda