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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Boyhood (2014)

In the period 2002 to 2013, Richard Linklater had the following achievements
  1. Full Length Feature Films – 8 (including the likes of Before Sunset & School of Rock)
  2. TV Film – 1
  3. TV Series – 6 episodes of “Up to Speed”
  4. Documentary – 1

But there is 1 achievement that covers this entire period and is not called out above. It is probably Linklater’s moment of truth or magnum opus or whatever it is that you want to call it. It began in 2002 and filming was completed in 2013.  It released in July 2014 and it is what everyone and their uncle have been raving about ever since.  It is a movie called Boyhood that will finally hit cinemas in India – aptly on Children’s Day.

Boyhood is the story of Mason Evans (Ellar Coltrane) from the time that he is 6 to the time he turns 18.  It narrates his experiences with his mother (Patricia Arquette), his father (Ethan Hawke), his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), his first step father Professor Bill Welbrock (Marco Perella) and his second step father Jim (Brad Hawkins).

Now, you will be well within your rights to ask what the world is raving about.  This seems to be a standard coming of age movie with a young kid as its protagonist.  Well, you will be right in saying that but here is where it gets really kick-ass.  Boyhood is shot with the same cast over 12 years.

It uses the same cast exactly the way they are over 12 years.  So the Ellar Coltrane who you see as a 6 year old is the same Ellar Coltrane you see as a 10 year old, a 14 year old, at his 15th birthday and at his graduation.  So the credits do not have “Mason at 10” or “Mason at 18” – IT JUST SAYS MASON EVANS – ELLAR COLTRANE!!!! How amazing is that!!!!

It is only when you understand that fact and start thinking about the complications of shooting over 12 years is when you truly appreciate the skill involved in Boyhood.  All the actors need to be around and committed to the exercise.  They need to adhere to a script and live their life accordingly.

Alternately the script needs to change continuously over 12 years. And I am only scratching the surface here.  Dig deeper and you WILL find several complications that you and I as average ordinary movie goers would not even be able to fathom.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that Richard Linklater has pulled off a master-stroke from conception of an idea to execution.

Will Boyhood earn a nomination across all categories? It would be a travesty and a surprise if it doesn’t.  The Academy appreciates a new concept and always calls it out as a nomination like they did for Her last year.  But will Boyhood actually get its hands on the coveted trophy? That’s 3+ months away.  Lets not lose sleep over that.  Instead enjoy the movie.  Be Patient because it is slow and long.  8.5 on 10.

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