« on: July 26, 2014, 03:46:20 PM »
I have a love/hate relationship with Richard Linklater. Well, maybe hate is a strong word, but there are definitely elements of his films that make my eyes roll. I love his naturalistic style of directing, and admire the fact that he imbues his characters will real feeling and heart, but sometimes the words he puts in the mouths of his actors are downright pretentious. Take Boyhood for example, in which the following line is uttered,
"You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.”
While I love the 'Before' trilogy, I could point to any number of similarly bogus lines from those films which made my skin crawl . Maybe it's a question of upbringing, social class, or cultural difference, but the people in Linklater's films bear little resemblance to people in the real world (or rather my world).
I find it much easier to accept the preternatural when it's not trying to evoke realism. I have fewer issues, for instance, with a director like Wes Anderson because his films are so very stylised; while Linklater's films strive to render realistic portrayals of people at given times in their lives. It's for that reason, because Linklater does deal with things like relationships and feelings so deftly, that when his characters say something that feels unnatural or forced, it pulls me right out of the film.
That, however, is just a personal gripe. My only other issue with 'Boyhood' is that the 'boy' at the centre of the story wasn't a particularly interesting character. Like some of Linklater's protagonists he's passive; things happen to him, he experiences events, but takes little action in them. In some ways I guess that's a fairly realistic portrayal of many of us (myself included), but as a result I found myself gravitating towards the lives of the other characters in the film. In fact, by the end I was pretty much ready for Mason to go to college just so the story could move on to the lives of other characters, who were much more interesting.
Those issues aside though, 'Boyhood' is unlike any film I've ever seen. Even if you were to ignore the logistics of putting a film like this together, you can't help but be impressed by this director's devotion to his characters. I very much look forward to seeing this film again and I suspect that, as was the case with the 'Before' films, I will appreciate 'Boyhood' more with each subsequent viewing.