The Cheltonian > Articles


Angharad Welsh reviews the OSCAR winning film Boyhood

Once in while a film comes along that’s a bit different and worthy of some notice. For me so far this year, that film is Boyhood.

Shot over 12 years, the film centres on Mason Jr (primarily played by Ellar Coltrane), the younger of two children with divorced parents Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. Patricia won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as ‘Mom’ (because a woman who’s a mother loses her identity?!) and it’s not hard to see why. The worry and pain of her own choices and how they affect her children is etched on her face throughout the film and, in light of very few good male role models for Mason (drunken, women-beating husbands/boyfriends and his Father in a different state) Mom does a great job raising her son.

Director Richard Linklater has achieved something no one else has attempted to before, and that’s to follow the (scripted) life of one boy from early childhood to his arrival at colleague. Mason literally grows before your eyes and there’s something poignant and powerful in the simplicity of growing up.

During films I often wondered when the next big thing is going to happen, the
climactic battle or emotional love scene that will draw me back into the storyline, and I found myself doing the same with Boyhood. But it never comes and you find yourself swept away on a journey of a life that feels both simple and complicated and wonderful and messy at the same time. Basically, something we can all relate to.

It’s a long film, 165 minutes in total, but it’s testament to the poor editors
who had to sift through 12 years of footage to find scenes they could knit together into one film that made sense. The soundtrack serves as useful milestones and brings the film to life as do things like the Obama presidential campaign that Mason and his sister Samantha help out with and the influx of social media.

I can’t say it blew me away and, like in life, there were bits that seemed a bit tedious and, dare I say it, dull. Having said that the film ended and I found myself feeling uplifted and eager to see how Mason’s days at college will go, if he gets married, has children etc. basically all the milestones of adult life!

It’s worth remembering that the cast can now go back to having their lives, which is important for its child stars who from the age of five have filmed every year until they turned 18.

Final word: Definitely worth a watch and you’ll struggle not to nod your head in agreement to this parting shot of teenage wisdom – “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the
other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.”