Film Review: BOYHOOD

Written and Directed by Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

What could have turned out to be little more than a gimmick instead provides us with one of the great films of 2014 with BOYHOOD. Twelve years ago, Linklater found a six year old boy, Ellar Coltrane, and filmed the first sequences in BOYHOOD. His film, based somewhat on his own childhood, offers the ups and downs of being a kid in Texas in the 21st century. Coltrane manages to be mostly likable and mostly an average kid, quite an achievement. His parents (Arquette and Hawke) are flawed but well meaning. Although Hawke is often absent, it is he that offers his son the most advice and solace. Arquette marries poorly, but is stretched beyond endurance in trying to get the education that will allow her to support herself and her kids.

It is at times the sheer magnitude of the task in BOYHOOD that impresses us. But wisely, this is no suburban utopia of a childhood and we are often startled and sad at the turn of events. I think the film would have been stronger if cut a bit. We do go over the same ground more than once. But isn’t childhood like that? Isn’t childhood listening to adults offer you half-baked advice and expecting you to take it as profound? Isn’t it being at the mercy of your parents’ bad choices? Isn’t it growing up in fits and starts and having your heart broken and suddenly mended again? Highly recommended.


Patti Abbott