Growing up is rarely easy, and when you’re battling constantly moving, bullying, and trying to understand the fuzzy little feelings you’re developing inside, things can seem so much harder.
Another rarity? Seeing a film so good that you’re glued to the screen for over two-and-half hours.
Enter Boyhood. Filmed over a span of 12 years with the same cast (really!), Richard Linklater’s cinematic feat is a story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a young boy named Mason, played by young actor Ellar Coltrane. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette both play Mason’s parents in a movie that charts the rocky terrain that we all know as childhood. So far the film has won critical acclaim and has made viewers nostalgic for that carefree yet incredibly confusing time we all experienced growing up.
I mean, the fact that both Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are onscreen is a solid enough reason to see the film, right? It also helps that both actors are phenomenal in their roles, too.
Arquette plays a mother in the film, and as a single parent, she moves the family to Houston after her ex-husband (played by Hawke) leaves the family because of his free-spirited ways. She herself has her own emotional roller coaster ride as she goes back to college, gets a job, and ends up marrying one of her professors — with all of these decisions severely affecting her children.
Even while dealing with her own issues, Arquette’s character proves to be quite a few layers thick; it’s easy to see her as both a woman trying to figure out her own life and a mother dealing with the everyday headaches and heartaches that come with raising children.
Boyhood isn’t all about watching the world revolve around a young boy who is literally growing up in front of our eyes, but it’s about all those other moments we tend to forget about while growing up.
“Life is not all about the big moments, the celebrations and such,” Arquette affirms. “It’s not our wedding day, it’s not our graduation day. It’s all the moments in between.”
And some of those moments can be as excruciatingly painful as they are joyful. In the film, Mason learns about adolescence, dates girls, fears stepdads, finds hobbies (in his case, graffiti), develops passions, and fights bullies — a subject Arquette feels quite passionate about, along with every parent on this planet, for that matter.
“I hate bullying, but I feel like society needs to take responsibility for this,” Arquette says. “These days, it’s all about the amount of ‘likes’ you get on social media and how much attention you can get on the Internet. It’s not real life. Parents need to put a stop to this; we need to put a stop to bulling altogether.”
Boyhood first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is due to be released in cinemas in July. The film has so far received several accolades, including the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and is already receiving early Oscar buzz.
In other words, go see it.
Photo courtesy of IFC Films