Boyhood a compelling journey.
The Vogue Cinema was filled to near capacity last Thursday for the much anticipated screening of Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s lofty twelve-year project that was released earlier this year. Following the childhood and adolescence of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), the film has been heralded for its honest approach to a story of family and growth that is unabashedly real and relatable.
In addition to the innovative nature of the filming process, the story was itself an impressive one. Exploring the topics such as divorce and alcoholism through the eyes Mason during the formative years of five to 18, the film is the ultimate coming-of-age epic following the truthful ups and downs of real life. Though the story progresses through Mason’s parents’ divorce, his first girlfriend, and ultimately his graduation from high school, Boyhood is far more than a simple series of milestones.
Because the story spans such a long time period in Mason’s life, it would have been easy to make the film seem choppy or poorly paced. The nearly three-hour film flowed exceptionally well and did the most important thing a nearly three-hour film can do: to not feel like three hours. The film’s concept had the potential to become overwhelming, but Boyhood was very well focused.
There are many risks associated with doing a project of this nature. The most obvious being the challenge of casting actors, some of whom were kids, to play the same role for over a decade. The whole project was released after the twelve years of shooting, making it an all-or-nothing endeavor.
For audience members who grew up around the years of the protagonist, the soundtrack was particularly comforting and identifiable. Opening with Coldplay’s “Yellow,” which was released with the turn of the millennium, viewers were immediately transported to the time period and perhaps their own childhood. Other notable tracks included Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun,” “Crank That” by Soulja Boy Tell’em, and even a couple High School Musical tracks. Aside from the soundtrack, the film was also interspersed with pop culture nods and references to current events that gave context to the progressing chronology. From campaigning for Obama’s first election to the video games Mason plays, the film gives subtle hints as the years go by but never overwhelms the audience.
Sackville Film Society screenings are every Thursday at 7:30 p.m.