Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before.
Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. Boyhood is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.
Hard times are accentuated, restful times are simply enjoyed. There is a scene where Mason is driving with his father, stepmother, sister and stepbrother and he learns that his dad sold his classic car. He is visibly upset, and we come to learn that a young 3rd grade Mason received a solemn oath of one day receiving the car from his father who very matter-of-fact can’t recall the conversation and rejects the very notion of even being serious if he did say it.
Boyhood is about growing up – while the circumstances are different, the film is presented with seamless editing year to year. We meet up with Mason, his family and friends, at different stages of his life, and as he discovers and learns how he is growing, how his surroundings are changing, we learn alongside him.
Director: Richard Linklater
Year of Release: 2014
Character to watch: Ellar Coltrane as Mason.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?