A movie that isfilmed with the same cast members shot in increments over the course of 12years directed by Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” is a groundbreaking coming ofage drama. As the audience, we get to witness the arc of the story and thephysical and emotional transformations each of the characters experience asthey grow and age. At the core of themovie, it is less about what it means to be a young male than it is an aura oftime and what it means to be alive right now. The film’s scenes depict culturally recognizable events ofan average American family. From family meals to family outings and birthdaysto graduation, all these adventures capture major milestones in each of theirlives. Through the eyes of Mason, played bythe film’s protagonist, Ellar Coltrane, you see so much curiosity, confusion,and concern.
Samantha, Mason’s older sister, played by the director’s daughter,Lorelei Linklater, is very mature for her age and grows up right before oureyes. She changes from an obnoxious kid determined to makeher brother cringe at the very thought of her to a preoccupied young ladypondering her next move in life. Andthen there’s their mother, Olivia, played by Patricia Arquette, who seems tonever be really be satisfied with anything in life. Therefore, she endures a series of significant others that don’t necessarilymean her any good all while trying to build a career and take care of herfamily. Mason Sr.,their father played by Ethan Hawke, whom Olivia is separated from, portrays thecool, just “go with the flow” type of parent. Hedrifts in and out of their lives and refuses to ascend towards theresponsibilities of adulthood until later on in the film.
As one event rollsinto another, the film’s point of view will embody these qualities as timeunfolds. In the opening shot of the movie, there’sa close-up of Mason (age 6) lying on the ground and the camera seems to bedirectly above him. It shows that he’s just a normalchild just as any of us have been. We’rethen introduced to Mason and his mother at school. Mason has recently beendistracted during class and hasn’t been turning in his homework. As the twoengage in the conversation, there is a close-up on Mason and we’re able to tellthat he is wondering why there is a reason for everything that everyone elsedeems necessary to be done. The age of this movie definitely shows through themusic and technology throughout the duration of the film.
Later on Olivia andher current boyfriend have an argument about how she never has time for himwhen reality is, she’s a full-time mother. Mason is awake in his room while theargument is taking place. In the following scene, Samantha is taunting herbrother while singing Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again”, and just like anyother American family they have a little sibling fight. Later on, Oliviamentions moving to Houston, Texas to make a better living for herself and thekids.
As we see the character’sleaving their home for the last time, in a long shot, it allows us to see thecharacters and all their belongings in front of their house. It looks as thoughwe were standing right across the street watching them pack and leave. WhenSamantha is on the phone with her friend, Mason’s friend Tommy is on the otherline and Samantha tells him Mason can’t play due to the fact that they’removing. You can see the disappointment on Mason’s face and I believe directorLinklater intended for us to become emotionally invested at this point. As theydrive away, Mason is looking out of window at his friend not knowing whether ornot he would really see him again. Witnessing that, we have a betterunderstanding of the displeasure with their mother’s decision about moving.