‘Boyhood’ Coming-of-Age Story Like No Other

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If you keep up with cinema at all, you’ve probably heard about Director Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” a twelve-year project shot in annual increments documenting the life of a boy named Mason (Eller Coltrane in real life) from age six to 18. Part drama, part comedy, part cinema verite, it is a coming-of-age story like no other. It could almost have been called “Girlhood” or “Motherhood,” as Linklater’s daughter Lorilei gives a wonderful rendering of Mason’s older sister Samantha, and Patricia Arquette portrays Mason’s mom from desperate single parent all the way to a secure, but still somehow desperate new empty nester. Ethan Hawke is effective as the kids’ dad doing his best to stay in their lives, and avoiding the trivialization similar characters often suffer.

“Boyhood” also avoids dramatic excess, telling its story and shaping its characters (which really IS the story) with everyday encounters that are filed under joy, pain, loss….or sometimes just confusion.

More of an observation than a criticism would be that, not unlike other art house releases, the characters here are culturally involved and academically connected, which may cause the film to lose resonance with demographic groups outside of Daily Show democrats. That said, “Boyhood” is an amazing achievement that will have you identifying (maybe uncomfortably closely) with one or more of the characters. With so many movies scrambling to interest you in parting with another ten bucks for the sequel, the probable lack of one here may someday leave you with an empty place in your heart -not dissimilar to feelings you may have about real people in your life with whom you have lost track- wondering what became of this boy and his family…