RICHARD Linklater’s cinematic observation of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) between ages six and 18 has garnered praise for its content and admiration for how cast and crew assembled one week in each of 12 years to film it.
For several years Linklater was fixated on telling the story of “a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college”.
Beginning that process in 2001 was an act of more than a little courage and optimism (fortunately, all the main players were still available to film the closing sequences.)
It’s about life middle-America style. Mason’s parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) are divorced. Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) is Mason’s older sister from hell (with some prospect over the years of amelioration of her attitude but you have to wait for it). Mother leaves second husband Bill (Marco Perella) also from hell, a bullying alcoholic psychology lecturer. She takes a degree and becomes a high-school teacher.
These people are the foundation environment for Mason’s development. The film presents less a plot than a beginner’s guide to growing up. In the single-digit years, his development complexities are relatively simple. Puberty brings the challenges confronting all boys. Adolescence brings the delights of dishy Sheena (Zoe Graham). Mason leaves home for university perhaps wiser, happier and a little optimistic.
Already winning industry awards, “Boyhood” runs for 165 minutes, improving as it goes.
At Capitol 6 and Dendy