New movie matures without special effects

When I first heard about “Boyhood,” it appeared to be a plot that has been done a thousand times over, but it isn’t really the plot that makes this film – the unique production style sets it apart from its generic predecessors.

At its core, “Boyhood” is a film about a boy named Mason. He begins the movie as a 6-year-old living with his older sister and single mother who struggles to give her children a better life. The story then follows this boy and his family through 12 years, until the boy is 18.

This motion picture, which is fictional, was filmed and written by a generally unknown director Richard Linklater. What’s different about this film is it was shot with the same cast over a 12-year span – real years, mind you, not just movie years.

Because of this exceptional characteristic of the film, it’s almost essential that the viewers forget all of the typical rules and expectations they would generally carry into a movie theater before entering.

In its essence, “Boyhood” is a simple narrative about, well, boyhood. Nothing extraordinary happens. Aliens don’t show up halfway through the movie, and you won’t see any 20-minute fight scenes, but you will see an ingeniously crafted fusion of fiction and reality that has never been seen on the big screen.

It is truly just the journey of one boy trying to make sense of the world and humanity, while also trying to find himself and where he fits in that world. It expresses exactly what it is to be a boy, or even more importantly than that, what it is to grow up as a boy.

This film is just as much about becoming a man as it is about being a boy, and this is where the 12 years of filming truly helped to emphasize exactly what it is that makes this film remarkable.

As American viewers, we see false or pretend aging in film on a regular basis, but it is always done with CGI – computer generated imagery – or makeup.

In “Boyhood,” however, we aren’t forced to believe or imagine that this young boy grows into a young man, because we can actually see it, and in some inexplicable way, it allows the viewer to empathize and relate with these characters on a level that I have never seen any other film even come close to achieving.

Ultimately, this film, which owns a lengthy running time of two hours and 45 minutes, is more of an experience in human life than it is a motion picture.

“Boyhood” is an experiment in film-making that is every bit as groundbreaking as it is relatable and thought-provoking. It’s every bit as complicated as it is simple, and upon watching this film, the viewer is forced to take a journey that delves deeply into themes such as empathy and understanding for others.

Most impressively though, it evokes a very personal inner-dialogue that lingers for weeks after viewing, compelling the individuals to observe their own personal experiences in childhood and how they transformed them and transitioned them into adulthood.



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