Boyhood - DVD Review

'Boyhood looks life, the void, and various of their sundry components in the face and falls back stuttering.'

I see little alternative to Boyhood successfully taking home the Academy Award for Best Picture on February 22nd, and though that is by no means a 'tragedy' in terms of the film industry's own 'employee of the year' awards, I did not find a great deal to truly admire in Richard Linklater's film. Like, yes; respect, definitely; but though there is endeavour and invention, the results of that were actually a little underwhelming.

Boyhood is, really, being rewarded in many parts for its idea. Filming the same group of actors at intervals during a twelve-year period is inventive and the dedication to see that project through is impressive. The problem for me was that, Linklater having put himself and his cast through such an ordeal, what does he end up with? A rather affable Indie Drama. And not much more.

At its heart, young Ellar Coltrane, playing Mason, provides a centre for the plot. The title though is a red herring; this film is as much about motherhood, fatherhood or girlhood as it is Mason's individual growing up. 'Untitled Family Drama' might actually have been a better moniker. In the one-hundred and sixty-five minutes Linklater has edited out of his twelve year whole (admittedly superbly), we learn about what it means to be a good father, a victim, a precocious young teenager, a misunderstood youth, a too-attached mother. There are moments of beauty and ugliness and Boyhood does find a deal of truth in both.

But having dedicated twelve years to the project, it is tempting to wish there was something more. I don't quite buy the 'but what more is there?' arguments. Yes, this reflects a vast experience of 'life', such that it is. Reflections though are different to interpretations, different to readings and reframings, different to incisive comment and thrilling critique. Boyhood looks life, the void, and various of their sundry components in the face and falls back stuttering.

My experience of Boyhood ended up almost as a collection of small moments; the editing is superb, Ethan Hawke is perfect, the teenage romance scenes were terrible, the final shot of Coltrane looking towards the camera (on purpose?) slightly annoying, Lorelei Linklater shows a decent amount of potential. Taking small moments from a film like this though feels as though it is a sign of a problem. Boyhood - as a word, a concept; a film - should be more than that.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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