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BOYHOOD – Film Review

by Michael Chasin


Director Richard Linklater commented that his intentionally low-key Dazed and Confused (1993) was a response to the teen films of the 1980s—in which every character had a transformational moment.

He related that his own high school experience—was rather work-a-day.

This notion of life really being about ordinary moments is the takeaway from Mr. Linklater’s longitudinal Boyhood (2014).

It follows the boyhood of Mason Evans—and the mainly small—and only occasionally big moments of his life—such as his divorced parents’ re-marriages—and sometimes subsequent divorces.

Boyhood is extraordinary for its twelve-year production span that captured the literal growth of lead actor Ellar Coltrane—who was age six when filming began—and eighteen when completed.

(Mr. Linklater may or may not have been influenced by the British documentary Up Series—which, starting in 1964—and every seven years thereafter—and counting—tracked the lives of fourteen British children—since they were seven years old.)

Boyhood’s moments of being dropped off at a new school, lying about sexual conquests with friends, and being non-communicative with parents are small and recognizable—yet also remarkable—as mile markers of one’s developing life.

Patricia Arquette, portraying Mason’s mother over the course of the film, tearfully comes to the realization that her life has perhaps already happened—in moments she didn’t fully realize as contributing to the sum of her life.

Mason, eighteen and highly introspective—skipping first day college orientation to visit a national park with new friends—has that same epiphany—fittingly in a small, quiet moment.


Filmmaker Michael Chasin (L) and Boyhood Actor  Ellar Coltrane

Michael Chasin and Ellar Coltrane at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, where Chasin’s short, Greater Goode, was screened, and which Coltrane attended





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