What it’s up for: Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Film Editing, Original Screenplay
Boyhood’s plot is exactly that – a boy’s boyhood.
I have some strong feelings about this movie.
1) The production technique of this movie is groundbreaking and surreal. Filming an average of three days a year over twelve years with the same cast, Richard Linklater accomplishes something historic and unimaginably difficult as a director through this film. The film editing works well with Linklater’s style. It’s artsy but realistic. The transitions between time periods are only made known through hairstyle changes and the emergence of new technology. That could be distracting at times as you’re trying to figure out how much time has passed, but it’s an interesting and seemless journey through the 2000s/early 2010s.
2) The script is horrendous. Words can’t even describe how miserably difficult it is to follow the dialogue. The screenplay as a whole is fine. It undoubtedly got nominated because of the whole shot-over-12-years thing.
3) Patricia Arquette has an understated role that builds throughout the film as the mother of the main character, Mason. You don’t really understand why she got nominated until her very last scene which is made more impactful because of her earlier subtlety.
4) The overall theme of the movie is surprisingly hopeless. Only one character is left at the end with any tangible semblance of hope, and it’s not even the main character. As someone who works with teens, it is unbelievably disheartening to see parental disengagement, unhindered and rationalized teen alcohol/drug abuse, and a moral to the story that life is meaningless. I understand that my moral compass points in a different direction than a lot of people’s, but outside of the basic inappropriate behavior, what bothered me the most is the underlying belief that nothing matters. Is that Linklater’s view of real life? How sad is that? Do we really want to live in a world where that is the primary belief?
5) Last but not least, Ethan Hawke. I want to say that his performance might be my favorite thing about the movie. He plays Patricia Arquette’s ex-husband and the father of Mason and his sister. *slight SPOILER ALERT* When the movie starts out, he seems to be the typical loser ex-husband/estranged father character that you see so often in stories. He develops into something much deeper and greater than that and his character shines a light on the reality of everyone else’s lives. Linklater’s choice for this character is his best accomplishment.*end SPOILER*
Watching a boy grow up on film is astounding. Watching it for two and a half hours while the secondary characters struggle through their lines is…difficult. There was not a lot of good acting in the film outside of Arquette and Hawke and there was A LOT of really bad acting. If it had been a movie that was shot like a normal movie, it wouldn’t even be getting a second glance by anyone.
Best Picture: No
Supporting Actor: Unlikely but I’m not sure at this point
Supporting Actress: Possible
Film Editing: Unlikely
Original Screenplay: Doubtful