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Comments 46 - 56 of 56

Rdgz_Dust_Speck's avatar


Critical Review in spanish / Reseña Crítica en español:

9 years 2 months ago
HyliaFischer's avatar


Only very few movies are as emotional as this one.
9 years 5 months ago
paul281f's avatar


Boyhood Review

When I reflect on the new film Boyhood I am conflicted on what I think of it. As rock musician Frank Zappa once said “The most important thing in art is the frame”, and I believe Boyhood can be viewed in in two very different frames. In one way I viewed it as a pointless gimmicky Pseudo-ambitious cheap drama and in another as the most persuasive argument for nihilism I’ve ever seen. If the intention of the boyhood team was to create an epic coming-of-age drama then in this respect it was a failure, but if it tried to negate the meaning of aspects of human life then it was a wondrous success.
To start things off I did not hate Boyhood and I definitely didn’t love it. I felt it was a below average film but I have only become so passionate about its mediocrity in part because of its widespread acclaim. It seems that many people may view the film as important and revolutionary in its use of the same actors over an eleven year span but I don’t know exactly why. Sure this not a gimmick you see every day in the movie theater but it’s a gimmick nonetheless. I don’t want to come off as sounding as though I’m thoroughly against gimmicks, if used in a good film they won’t detract. Was Hitchcock’s Rope any better for making it look like it was one take? Not really, sure it was a gimmick and an experiment that wound up working well and because of this the movie didn’t suffer. But is that why it’s considered a classic, certainly not, it’s the plot, characters, acting and overall tone of the movie that made it one. Like in a jazz improvisation one has to be ready for the experiment not to work. It happens, you move on, try not to do it again, but instead find what was wrong and build on it or deem it a misguided venture and abandon it. We should not be handing out praise for failed experiments like this, ideas are nice but it’s the execution that deserves the real load of praise. In this sense Boyhood is getting a trophy when it should be handed a participant ribbon.
Another problem I have with praise for this “revolutionary” gimmick is that it isn’t very original. If films are innovative they deserve praise for being so, but why praise a film for something we’ve seen hundreds of times before? There are documentary pieces such as the Up series or Hoop Dreams that follow the same people for years, and in Up’s case several times longer than in Boyhood. But Boyhood isn’t a documentary; instead it’s actors playing the same roles over many years so you watch them grow along with the character. But is that any different from Truffaut’s The Adventures of Antoine Doinel series of movies? It’s the same boy actor playing the same part in five films over twenty years. Now there are examples of films that have used this same gimmick and more effectively so. What about other examples? Outside of feature films there is literally every live action television show that was ever on the air for multiple years. spoiler
The filmmaking isn’t even anything special. Cinematically it has nothing going against it but nothing going for it either. It’s like celery, what’s to complain about? But what’s to laud? There aren’t any beautiful shots or interesting imagery, it remains plain and dull. The music doesn’t add anything it simply floats there waiting to remind you what year of the 2000’s they’re in with a contemporary pop song. Ethan Hawke gives the best performance out of any of the players and when others interact with him it makes this starkly obvious. Patricia Arquette seems to improve her acting over the years but the same can’t be said for the mediocre acting of Mason and his various friends and acquaintances. Maybe the poor dialogue is to blame as interaction between the child actors or the child and adult actors seems over the top and out of touch. Whether it’s the mother screaming profanities at her six year olds or youths telling each other “tru dat”, the conversation is lacking in any shred of realism.
I find one of the biggest failures of the movie to be the complete unreliability of the main character, Mason. He should have been easy for me to relate to. We are about the same age and thus went through the same things at the same time and these experiences are still fresh in my mind. There are many differences between Mason and myself;spoiler But none of that should matter when it comes to relating to him, a good film should have relatable characters especially the main one. If I can relate to well crafter characters like King Kong or Luke Skywalker then it shouldn’t be too much to ask to make a boy who isn’t a thirty foot ape or a magic space samurai relatable. The only thing I found enjoyable in the film was the nostalgia of seeing all the games and fads that were around during my own boyhood. But Mason and his friends quickly become parodies of the time as they succumb to every last fad or fashion trend possible. Had Boyhood been set in the seventies we would have seen Mason wearing a white disco suit and afro to high school.
The film I thought Boyhood was somewhat similar to was Tree of Life. They both focus on young boys growing up and their relationships with their families and they are both told in an unusual, or supposedly unusual, way. The big difference here is that everything that made Tree of Life unique, interesting or thought provoking was stripped away to create Boyhood. Tree of Life uses imagery, cinematic and narrative styles as well as all the other elements I have pointed out that are lacking in Boyhood to create an interesting film. I will make it clear that I believe Tree of Life has its flaws and isn’t a perfect movie but just a similar one that shows how elements can be used effectively to create something worthwhile to watch. In the same ways, Boyhood is dissimilar to 400 Blows, the emotion and visuals in that film help the story blossom while the lack of these elements hampers Boyhood from making any impact on the viewer.
Overall, depending how you look at it Boyhood is a bland watered down attempt at a powerful life-changing drama or a great representation of nihilism. On the surface it’s a failed experiment but when you dig deep down underneath is a genuine philosophical statement that binds the otherwise disparate segments. For this reason it is difficult for me to give it a rating. It is not always important what the creator had in mind for their art and the fun of art is that you can apply your own meaning to it. If it was in fact intended to be a concentration in nihilism I commend it for its ability to bring that doctrine to life, on the other hand I am disappointed that it was made in a way in which it masqueraded itself as an ineffective, aimless drama. If you are searching for a fun, thrilling or moving picture this is one to skip, but if you want to explore the meaningless of life through the vehicle of a young boy then this is the one for you. The three hour runtime is exhausting as the nihilist message of the film is very slow burning and only once it draws to the end and the picture is complete can you stand back and see what Boyhood was truly about. Unfortunately with either frame Boyhood is a grueling experience that wears the viewer down as narrative is continually withheld until it plunges into a nihilistic darkness, Boyhood is a challenge and one that I would have rather not taken on.

9 years 6 months ago
Joker of Gotham's avatar

Joker of Gotham

It would be fantastic if this movie gets the nominations that deserve and win awards that it deserves.
9 years 7 months ago
aliveli452's avatar


movie of the year.
9 years 7 months ago
nicolaskrizan's avatar


life goes on, no matter what

8 years 4 months ago
chicachica's avatar


If this movie doesn't get a handful of Oscars, it will be a shame.
9 years 10 months ago
011235's avatar


9 years 10 months ago
mysteryfan's avatar


god save us from the Linklater fanboys

the movie was decent overall, but these pretentious fankids will over-rate this movie like it is better than Shawshank redemption lolz
9 years 9 months ago
americanadian25's avatar


Here's my review of Boyhood.
9 years 6 months ago
Christopho's avatar


Literally Taylor Lautner with bad hair
9 years 10 months ago

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