After the incredible reviews for “Boyhood”, I had my expectations high. Higher perhaps than they should’ve been. I was expecting to see The Second Coming.
At three hours, it was waaaay toooo long. I couldn’t wait for him to graduate high school and get the hell out of the house! And then, set in Houston, it seemed we were going to be dragged through college with him (the University of Texas is a backdrop) as well.”Oh no!” I thought.
I was unfortunately feeling that sinking feeling of when is this going to be over???
The non-actor playing the central character Mason was OK in the child hood scenes where all he had to do was be a kid. But he was constantly being upstaged by his precocious and obnoxious older sister,Samantha, who turns out to be director Linklater’s daughter Lorelei! Who btw doesn’t look like either of her biological parents, who are played to the hilt, and then some, by the more-remarkable-than- she’s=ever-been Patricia Arquette, in the role of her career, as Mason’s patient, loving mom, and Ethan Hawke, who holds his own, too, as Mason’s dead-beat dad.
The thing that astounded me throughout the film, however, was not simply the fact that everyone in it was really aging as they would in real life, but the incredible 12 year long dedication of Arquette and Hawke and all involved to director/writer Richard Linklater. This is his second time-lapse, if you will film. The other also with Hawke was the “Sunrise” trilogy, of which I only saw the last film, and was underwhelmed by that one, also. Of his recent films, I liked “Bernie” better.
I guess you had to see the other two first. I felt when I saw it that it would get no Oscar action. And it didn’t. The Gotham Awards and the Indie Spirits are where this film will clean up. As its’ doing at the box-office.
But Oscar, I don’t think so. It’s not a Best Picture picture. It’s more of simply a film stunt. And Ellar Coltrane as Mason is more of an absence than a presence, but I guess that’s what the director intended. As we SLOOOOWLY procede to Mason’s adolescence and his interest in photography grows and grows, we see something of the young filmmaker Linklater merging with the character. I would’ve liked to have seen more of that. It’s a film of tiny, small moments. I would’ve liked more substance.
Most successful is the painful portrait it paints of a dysfunctional single mother (Arquette) who is constantly drawn to drunken, abusive men. She drags her two children through three horrible marriages, and while accurate, paints a very bleak, bleak picture of American married life today.
As the daughter, Samantha bemoans the fact “that we have to move AGAIN!” every time one of Arquette’s marriages break up.
I found it depressing and disturbing rather than enlightening. And bourgeois beyond belief.
Oh well! On to the next Oscar front-runner that going to sink from over praise.
Linklater might get a Best Director nod, and perhaps win. And Patricia Arquette’s is the best written part. And she plays it wonderfully with warmth and intelligence and makes you realize this talented actress has been underestimated and under-utilized her entire career. Until now. She is so good she could be nominated in either category. Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. But if she’s in Supporting she’ll be up against the likes of Dame Maggie Smith for “My Old Lady.”
She’s so good and is the performance that really stays with you, as she ages from cute-as-can-be hippie Mom, to a matronly, committed Psychology professor single mom with a degree, who is something like 15 pounds heavier. You root for her all the way. And she gets the big Summing Up Scene at the end.
So while “Boyhood” like in real life has its joys, it is also something I couldn’t wait to get out of.
And as I was leaving this public showing of the film, I heard people with puzzled expressions on their faces saying “It was three hours!” and “It’s so ordinary.” That about says it all. Don’t believe the reviews. It’s a critics darling, clearly, but Oscar? I don’t think so.But it might get SOMEthing big. Like Arquette winning Best Actress. Or even Linklater winning Best Direcot or Best Original Screenplay. I don’t think he’s ever won an Oscar before, so this clearly is his year. And every body likes him and Arquette, is very popular in Hollywood. They’ll get nominated. But Best Picture? No. It will go to a much bigger studio film. But Linklater could finally win Best Screenplay. He’s been nominated in that category before.
The childhood references it revels in are going to be lost on the aged Academy members. this childhood wasn’t their childhoods. Harry Potter any one?