Filmed over 12 years (yes, that’s correct) a few days each year, using the same actors throughout, Boyhood plots points throughout one person’s life from the age of 6 until he turns 18.
Of course it’s not just about the boy, Mason, it’s as much about his parents and sister, as each life has an impact on other members of the family. The most interesting observations are actually to do with his mother, a constant presence in Mason’s life, and whose own life choices (made for what seem like all the right reasons) turn out to not have necessarily the best outcomes for her children.
This isn’t a happy ‘best bits’ collection of high days and holiday videos – we are drawn through Mason’s life gently, landing at random points in events. We’re allowed to work out for ourselves how long a gap there may have been since we last dropped by, and what has been happening to everyone in the meantime.
As a piece of film-making, it is quite extraordinary in its construction, and Richard Linklater deserves all the acclaim he receives for this mammoth shoot. It all fits seamlessly together, and it’s only when you start to wonder what happened to the cute 8 year old from an hour ago that you remember he’s there, right in front of you right now, but he’s now that sullen 14 year old who’s driving you mad!
I admire this film very much for the sheer dedication, artistry and technicality with which it has been put together. But am I alone in not feeling quite so much of the emotional heart-tugging though, not being a parent?