Richard Linklater is a genius, especially when it comes to coming to age movies. From his earlier work including Slacker, Dazed and Confused, SubUrbia and the more modern School of Rock and Bad News Bears, there is something about his sense of story that allows everyone to relate to one or multiple characters in his movies.
Linklater's latest movie Boyhood takes your standard coming to age movie to a place where no one has really gone, truely following the life of a boy and his family from childhood to college. Filming on Boyhood took place over eleven years! Watching the movie at times feels like a documentary in that all the actors remain through the entire movie. They age. They change. They mature. They get fat. They grow crazy mustaches. I have never seen anything like it. Before seeing the movie I expected it to be broken up into very specific chapters, but to my surprise the movie seemlessly blends time with no prompts or fades. In one shot the lead character Mason is a young child and in the next he has aged a couple years. Linklater and editor Sandra Adair really have done something special with Boyhood.
When it comes story, it is just a family going through life. It is anticlimactic in the best possible way, as it doesn't force the characters into movie tropes. One scene sticks out to me when Mason, who at this point is in junior high, goes out with friends and drinks in an abandoned house with friends. The scene has a quiet tense feeling as if something terrible is going to happen and nothing does. It really gives you the feeling that you are really watching life fold before you and not a highly scripted movie with mountain highs. It is steady, which is its strength.
With the expanding growth in young adult stories it was great to see someone deal with all the difficulties of growing up without having to be a wizards, vampire, werewolf, trapped in a maze, selected to kill others. Dealing with divorce, an annoying sister, paniced mother, and using the Sears catalog to look at boobs.
Boyhood is a movie that everyone should see at least once.