Boyhood (2014 film)

The poster invoked more deep thinking than the film.

The poster invoked more deep thinking than the film.

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.

Homo Depressus

Homo Depressus

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

– JA

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