Response Journal: Boyhood (2014)

In search of lost time…

Had Marcel Proust been a filmmaker from Texas, he might’ve directed Boyhood. Like any painstaking modernist opus, Richard Linklater’s remarkable coming-of-age drama had a notorious development. It was shot annually with the same cast for twelve years. Though the concept has existed in similar forms (Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series, to name one), none has in a single installment so acutely explored the spaces where life and art intersect. The story follows Mason (played throughout by Ellar Coltrane, the film’s other subject) as he ages on camera from a quizzical moppet to an artistic graduate, splitting time between his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). A dozen years of shifting fashions, fads, and Top-40 tunes repurpose Mason’s upbringing into a cultural artifact, a time capsule of America in the early 21st Century. His physical maturation (height, weight, hairstyle, clothing and inflection) indicates an ongoing spiritual conflict with social expectations and clueless authority figures. It’s clear his parents had children before they were even adults themselves. The conclusion insinuates not the end, but the dawn of many more transformative years. Boyhood shows that life, comprised of millions of character-shaping moments, is a continual process of growing up.

Editing by Sandra Adair.  Costarring Lorelei Linklater.

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