Happy Friday everyone!
Last Friday night, after a brutal work week, I headed to Davis Square to meet one of my besties for dinner and a movie. We noshed on burrata salad, arancini and zucchini pizza at Posto before heading to the Somerville Theatre to see "Boyhood."
I first heard about "Boyhood" in the summer movie preview issue of Entertainment Weekly (my pop culture bible). For those who are unfamiliar with the film, it was written and directed by Richard Linklater, the director of "Dazed and Confused" and "School of Rock" and the "Before Sunrise" trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The film follows the life of a young boy named Mason from age five to age eighteen. The coolest part of the film is that all four principal actors - Mason, his sister, his mother and his father - are all played by the same actors over the course of all twelve years. The cast would regroup every summer (2002 - 2013) to shoot new scenes. How incredible is that? All four stars committed to this project and made time for it every year for over a decade. Just the logistics of that is mind blowing.
Mason, the focal point of the story, is played by Ellar Coltrane. Isn't that such a movie star name? Linklater discovered him in Austin, TX when he was six.
Watching his evolution from elementary school kid to college freshman is fascinating. You watch his hair go from long to short, short to long and back again, the way we all change our looks as we grow in and out of different phases. Perez Hilton shared this awesome photo of the transformation over time:
After moving multiples times, putting up with his mother's suitors and his sassy sister, Mason grows into an authority-defying, overly analytical drifter.
Mason's sister, Sam, is played by Lorelei Linklater, Richard's daughter.
Sam is one of my favorite characters in the movie. Even in elementary school she had mega diva attitude. She stars in two of the funniest scenes, one where she wakes up Mason to belt out her best rendition of Britney Spears "Ooops, I Did It Again" and one where her dad tries to talk to her about safe sex over dinner at a sleazy bowling alley.
Mason and Sam's mom is played by Patricia Arquette. She struggles to raise her kids all by herself, uprooting them again and again. Her character winds up in two bad marriages, both times tethered to horrible drunks.
The kids' father is played by the one and only Ethan Hawke. I have had a crush on Ethan Hawke since "Gattaca." When I was in middle school I used to say that if I ever had kids I wanted to name them Anthony and Vincent, after the "Gattaca" brothers.
In the film, Hawke's character, Mason Sr., is a dead beat dad. He barely sees his kids and when he does, he tries to force a close knit relationship with them.
Despite his absentee status, he does have a solid relationship with his son. Some of my favorite moments in the film are between just the two guys.
There's one scene toward the end of the movie where Mason Sr. comes to Mason's high school graduation party at his mom's house and he tries to offer her money to help contribute to the cost of the party. He opens his wallet to discover he doesn't have any cash. That one moment spoke to how for their entire relationship, he always came up short for her. It's crazy how that one small moment epitomized their entire relationship.
"Boyhood" clocks in at two hours and forty two minutes, so bring sustenance! While I did love watching the twelve year progression, the movie probably could have shaved off thirty minutes and still be great.
The moments shared between these four family members were so real that the movie stuck with me for days. I kept thinking about the struggling mom and how she continually chose horrible men. And how the dad could never truly show up for his kids. And worse, how all of that dramatically affected the people their children became.
Though the movie was painfully honest, I loved it so much. I wanted to hug it.
Did you see the film? What did you think?