Boyhood: "Who Do You Wanna Be Mason, What Do You Wanna Do"

Director: Richard Linklater
Writer:    Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltrane
               Patricia Arquette
               Ethan Hawke
               Lorelei Linklater
               Marco Perella
               Brad Hawkins

               Libby Villari
               Jenni Tooley
Rating:    *****

Home Release: Out Now

There are many films out there that span the lives of a family over many years, as the children age the actors change, or the mum dons a slightly different wig. It's not necessarily a new concept in Hollywood, but this film handles the subject in a new an exciting way. Boyhood follows Mason (Coltrane) and his family for 12 years; ad the film was made over 12 years, so as the movies characters travel and age, as do the actors on screen.               

The story and film are beautifully simple, it is a story we have all lived; we have all grown up and we all have some sort of a family around us. The story flows with a subtlety and nuance that not many films now are brave to do, no set pieces, no big name stars just a beautiful script performed by a group of dedicated actors. Ellar Coltrane is a breath of fresh air in this film, he isn't an 'actor' he is a young boy who was chosen for this project who has had to grow and develop, all in front of a camera. It is this rawness and real character that allows him to show us the character of Mason with a dignity and unashamed honesty.

Patricia Arquette
The standout performance for me comes from a tragically forgotten actress, Patricia Arquette, as Mason's hard done by single mother Olivia. It's one of those performances that will hopefully open the eyes of the Weinsteins and other big Hollywood bigwigs to the true raw, hidden talent she has. She too grows and ages on film, no airs and no graces. She, over the past 12 years has had to revisit this character for roughly 3-5 days a years, so it must've been a real challenge to get into her head-space, yet she does it with grace and ease.

She deals with some of the heavier subjects in the film, and with each hurdle Arquette stands up as Olivia and fights, she doesn't let being a young mother stop her, and she wins the battles she has to fight. However at the end of the film, when both her children have moved out she realizes that her biggest battle was being a mother, and now she has won that battle she can't see whats left for her. It is this moment when you realize you haven't been watching Patricia Arquette on that screen, you've been watching this single mother take on the world, grow before your eyes. It's her journey I enjoyed the most, and it's this reason she won the Golden Globe and has a Academy Award nomination.

Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke
& Lorelei Linklater
The estranged husband and father two Mason and his sister Samantha (Linklater) is Mason Sr., who is portrayed by Ethan Hawke. Hawke starts the film as that fun dad who flits in every now and then and spoils the children and disobeys their mother, however beneath it all there is a man still madly in love with his past life just doing what he can to get that back. Hawke plays the man superbly and has clearly gotten to grips with what it takes to portray him growing and changing without being in your face or over obvious. His character clearly loves his life past and present, and Hawke shows us this and his love for those children without faltering.

Director Richard Linklater has taken what many would see as the impossible and made it possible; he has created a film over the course of 12 years. No-one knew if it was going to be successful, and yet this group of talented people came together to create it. Everything about it is simple; there's no graphics on screen that blatantly tell us that it is 'year two', and the performances are gentle and passionate without being over bearing. It is a huge task taken on by everyone, and what a success it is. In her Golden Globe acceptance speech, Patricia Arquette described this film as "so human, so simple and ground breaking and significant in the history of cinema"; this is what they set out to achieve and Boyhood did just that.

Boyhood - Trailer