Boyhood is a 2014 film that took 12 years to make. It was a bold and unprecedented effort to document the main actor in the film (Ellar Coltrane) as he goes through his actual boyhood before our eyes(for nearly 3 intermittently dragging hours) over the backdrop of a fictional story. Beyond this groundbreaking catch, director and writer Richard Linklater did very little to push new boundaries in storytelling or filmmaking. The movie seemed more like a quirky experiment, where the writers scrambled to craft a story after they had 12,000 hours of footage to edit. As oppossed to starting with a great story written out beforehand, with excellent actors and a director to interpret the masterpiece.
I watched this movie on demand in a hotel room and found myself fast forwarding in 30 second bursts on a few separate occasions. I’m not sure if that fact says more about the pace/content of the movie, or my professionalism as a reviewer. Despite my general impatience and moderate engagement, Boyhood ended up becoming the ultimate in masturbatory fodder for film critics. It scored a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has received near unanimous acclaim. I am certainly not one to reject art just because everyone else likes it. In fact, I would venture to guess that if you were to overlay a graph of my ratings of movies over their tomometer scores, there would be an obvious correlation. This movie, is clearly an exception. Maybe I didn’t get it, or maybe I missed a critical 90 seconds in the film, but I just didn’t enjoy it. Was it a bad movie? No. Was is it “One of the greatest films I’ve ever seen”, as Richard Roeper put it? Not even in the same galaxy.
The main takeaway I had from Boyhood was that alcohol masquerades as an innocuous, socially accepted depressant, and ends up being pure, liquid evil. An auxiliary point being that human beings are a collection of delusional hypocrites, incapable of introspection or self-improvement. I guess I deal with enough of that in real life, so I wasn’t looking to double down on the experience when I go to the movies. Boyhood 2 should be about him getting divorced and preparing taxes over the span of a four-hour run time. I guess everyone else will eat that shit up.
Overall Rating : 4.9/10