Boyhood is a slow-moving, over-rated, uneven film in desperate need of an editor to trim some time from its almost 3 hour length.
That being said, it’s also an impressive project, filmed with the same actors over 12 years so that we get to see Mason Evans Jr. (the Boy in Boyhood, played by a subdued Ellar Coltrane) literally grow up before our eyes, while his parents slowly age and mature, not just physically but emotionally, too.
Performances by the leads are very good, and Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, and Ethan Hawke are all convincing, though director Richard Linklater likes to film around places he knows in Texas and casts locals (and family members) in speaking roles which can lead to some incredibly stilted dialogue and only serves to remind you that you’re watching a film, not real life.
The best part of the movie involves an alcoholic step-father who provides the much needed tension that any good story needs, but overall I found the characters, though well rounded, to also be fairly uninteresting and though not unlikable, they were also not particularly winsome.
Look, it just didn’t captivate me the way it did others, and maybe this is why: I have my own kids, and every day I see pictures of smaller versions of them hanging on my walls, reminding me of who they once were, and I’m infinitely more fascinated and interested in their lives than in the lives of the characters of a slow paced slice-of-life-movie.
I agree with the New York Times Op-Ed writer Mary Jo Murphy, who wrote, “It’s hard to imagine that critics would have deployed such superlatives had the actors simply been aged by the application of makeup or other cinematic artifices in the service of the same threadbare story.”
And now for another quote, let’s turn to my friend Corey Maze, who said, “I would vote it Best Project.”
Worth 3 of my 7 run-on sentences.