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Linklater’s “Boyhood”: yay or nay?

January 31, 2015
MV5BMTYzNDc2MDc0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwMDQ5MTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Usually I agree with the reviews that Ron Wells does on a somewhat regular basis here on Art Predator. I guess if I disagreed with them more I’d not be as likely to publish them! But when it comes to Boyhood by Richard Linklater, I agree more with the Academy than with Ron:

is up for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ethan Hawke), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette), Best Director (Richard Linklater), Best Film Editing (Sandra Adair) and Best Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater). It’s already won  the Golden Globe Award Winner for Best Picture for Drama and Patricia Arquette is the Golden Globe Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and Richard Linklater is the Golden Globe Award Winner for Best Director.
I think the nominations and awards are all well deserved;  in particular, I think the work that  Patricia Arquette did should get recognized again.  My husband and I found the film very moving. Perhaps it’s because we have a son of our own, we know the challenges of marriage and grad school, and there are many other moments that resonated deeply for us. What’s your take? Do you agree with me or Ron? How would you vote it you were a member of the Academy?

Review of Boyhood by Ron Wells

I saw Boyhood the week it opened and was very excited.
I walked out wondering what I had missed.

Why the accolades from virtually everyone? Not that it’s a bad film; it’s not.
It’s just that there is no there…. there. I marvel at Linklater’s ability to hold the cast and crew together and paint a portrait of a boy’s growth over twelve years of filming off and on. He even got some of the nuances right (Mason doesn’t always finish things he starts, for example.) Ellar Coltrane did a remarkable job of acting.

Other than that, what am I watching for 2 hours and 45 minutes? I was looking at my watch after 2 hours and 10 minutes and wondering how much longer this would go on. It just seemed empty.
Like Kenneth Turan of the LA Times, I was much more taken with Michael Apted’s documentary series, Up, where real people’s lives took interesting and surprising changes of growth and disposition. Even when they were young.
That series no doubt was what Linklater had in mind when he started this. But in his film about all I saw was a mother who made bad choices in husbands, and an “insightful” philosophy of: “You don’t want bumpers. Life doesn’t give you bumpers” from the father.  Really? Ok.For me, this was like watching a long series of snapshots and saying of some of them, “Oh, that’s an interesting one.” Other than that, I don’t know.In fairness, I must also add that Linklater’s other films hit me in a similar way. I kind of enjoyed Dazed and Confused, another well made film, but I walked away from it wondering many of the same things I’m thinking about Boyhood. Perhaps the slacker life just doesn’t interest me. Who knows.Anyway, yes Boyhood is a nicely made film and broke some new ground in filmmaking, though again, one must look toApted first. I just don’t see this as a great film. It is a good film.Like Turan, I’ll choose to stand apart from everyone else on this one. It’s a movie. It’s not life or death. To those who saw more than I did in this film (that includes almost everyone, I guess), I’m glad you enjoyed Boyhood. It’s always nice when art touches you in some meaningful way. As for me, I doubt I’ll be watching Boyhood again anytime in the near (or distant) future. I do recommend Apted’s “Up” series, which started at “7 Up” and is now currently at “56 Up.”

What’s your take? Do you agree with me or Ron? How would you vote it you were a member of the Academy?



4 Comments leave one →
  1. Suzy permalink
    February 1, 2015 5:28 am

    I haven’t seen it, but your post reminds me that I heard just a couple of minutes of an NPR interview with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke last week and was intrigued about the movie. I need to go back and listen to the whole thing.

    The lukewarm review sounds about like me: I often scratch my head in wonderment when a work of art gets rave reviews and to me it’s just, “Eh, it was OK. What’s all the fuss about?” I really know nothing about the movie, but now, of course, I’m going to watch the trailer and find a synopsis.

    Thanks for the heads-up!

    (I came here from your Your Turn Challenge post on FB.)

  2. February 1, 2015 8:42 am

    Thanks so much for your comment, Suzy! I’m curious what you think after you watch it. I liked his other films and I like these actors. I thought the film was very naturalistic –and life does not always have a lot of there there. I have always been fascinated by the Up series and so when I heard about this film years ago I have looked forward to seeing it. But it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you haven’t experienced the kinds of milestones the movie walks through.

  3. Suzy permalink
    February 1, 2015 1:17 pm

    Now that I’ve watched the trailer and the behind-the-scenes clip, I want to see it!

  4. February 1, 2015 8:40 pm


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