As someone that has grown up through the ‘00s, watching “Boyhood” was an extremely emotional experience. Noticing books, songs, products, and fashion of each era instantly brought me to pure nostalgia. Having been filmed over the past 12 years it managed to feel entirely genuine. I smiled at my brother when the film showed pop culture experiences like the puck mouse on a school owned bondi blue iMac, grandparents pushing religion, campaigning for then-candidate Obama, each Harry Potter release, and thinking “This is 2011. Fuck, that was 3 years ago” after hearing “Somebody That I Used To Know and Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”. As I discussed with him, it seems the most interesting part of this film will be watching it in a decade and being put back in these moments of my childhood. For those who grew up or had kids grow up in a different era, I imagine watching this film will be quite a bit different. You’ll be in the lives of a different generation. Still, I believe the primary experiences are universal and can be appreciated. First love and loss, leaving people behind, and growing into your own person. Something as simple as “goodbye house” brought a tear to my eye. I certainly didn’t grow up in Texas with a chain of alcoholic stepdads, and yet the common ground was profound.-Tyler Simpson
These days, Hollywood mostly subscribes to Alfred Hitchcock’s philosophy, “What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out?” By contrast, Linklater embraces those dull bits, treating milestones and banal moments with equal weight, and relying on the cumulative effect, rather than rigging any one of the film’s 143 scenes, to supply its emotional impact.
Just as vividly, the kids experiment with various musical phases (Britney Spears to Bright Eyes) and small acts of rebellion, growing into independent thinkers. Is Boyhood the most nuanced home movie of all time? Not quite, and calling it that would diminish Linklater’s achievement. Better to say that it retrains us to let go of melodramatic expectations and simply let life unfold, a remarkably sophisticated ambition. To some degree, that’s what Linklater has been doing with his Before Sunrise trilogy, created over an 18-year period. But Boyhood has a scope that’s more thorough and epic. Unshakable, witty and deeply felt, the film will be paying emotional dividends for a long, long time.
It’s just incredible that we now have a film that is essentially a snapshot of our childhood and how we grew up. It will only get better with age and when we have kids we can show it to them so they can see what life was like when we grew up.
It hurt to see the moments of my life I tried to forget, but it also felt good to know that I wasn’t alone out there. Best movie I have ever seen
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate “Boyhood,” and I’m not totally immune to its attributes. But for me it was, at best, OK, a film whose animating idea is more interesting than its actual satisfactions.
I have always been cool to Linklater’s films, have never connected emotionally to his self-involved characters and a slacker aesthetic that treats banalities as if they were words of wisdom. Though “Boyhood” could be his best film and certainly has its satisfying moments, its narrative feels fatally cobbled together, veering haphazardly from underdone moments to overdone melodramatic contrivance.
Linklater relishes the small moments that epitomize Mason’s flow of experiences. During a camping trip with his dad clearly shot years ago, the pair have a hilariously prescient exchange about the “Star Wars” franchise and determine it could never accommodate additional movies. Retroactively a sly commentary on the upcoming sequels, the conversation implies that not all ambitious filmmaking must be tethered to commercial intensions. It’s one scene among many rendered insightful by the passage of time surrounding them — the central tenet at the heart of “Boyhood” that makes it Linklater’s shrewdest accomplishment to date, and a de facto celebration of his ongoing commitment to moving forward.
The absolute funniest scene for me was the last scene of the film. I had spent the previous two hours wondering where the movie was going and how they could possibly end the film in a way that would be profound yet satisfying. I was expecting a cheesy montage of Mason growing up again or ending on a scene of both his parents visiting him at university. Instead, we got Mason tripping balls, saying something entirely nonsensical, an awkward silence, and a sudden cut to credits accompanied by Arcade Fire. I honestly can’t think of a better way to end the film.
I thought his (Mason Sr.) transformation worked so well. Like other people have mentioned in the thread, the film subverted so many standard family drama movie tropes and I think Mason Sr.’s arc was handled very well. Even though he became an insurance salesman and married into a religious/conservative family, he never seemed unhappy. He adored his new family just as much as he adored his original one. It was more of a maturation than a transformation, really.