Celebration North Theatre #9 12:40pm 2x$8.25
It took twelve years and 166 minutes to make this groundbreaking film. It's not that we haven't seen casts grow up through a series of films -- Harry Potter and the Up series anyone? -- but here we have one film following the same core cast from Grades 1 through 12 and the start of college for Mason Jr. It's a dangerous project. Who knows who your lead will grow up to be? Certainty not an artistic soulful eyed young Cary Elwes. (grin) And what happens if one of your cast doesn't make it? Thankfully they dodged this bullet.
Richard Linklater wrote and directed this "pseudo real life Truman Show" (grin), with Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr., Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his divorced parents and Linklater's daughter Lorelei as the older sister. An assortment of others come in and out through the years, due to relationships, moving, new schools, career changes. It's not all domestic bliss, but it pulls back and does not descend into the full pathos and horror of a Law & Order: SVU episode. While not all sunshine and light, for the most part Boyhood is a gentle film. One of the real treats of filming sporadically over the years, there's no set dressing with the wrong tech -- people just use what they use, whether computers, phones, games.
Of course I frequently want to shake the kids out of their lethargy -- this is not my childhood. But the teen/tween eyerolling, smart talk and moody insolence, nice done. Linklater's daughter, Mrs. Dr. Phil read to me, didn't want to be in the movie any more and asked her dad to kill her off. Not that type of movie. But the rebellion? Came out perfect on the screen.
As for the artistic bent, Mason goes into photography. Though it bugged me that he didn't drag a camera with him everywhere. Me and my photo geek friends always did, though we didn't have dates. Once we see him wielding a Nikon DSLR, not sure of the model, possibly a D3100, and at a football game one of the fast f2.8 long zooms -- 70-200mm or 80-200mm. Expensive lens. I don't own one. On the way to college, the camera is a Canon 7D. Neither is a full-frame FX sensor, so one wonders what would have motivated him to jump systems. DX to FX? That would've been an easier sell. NOTE: This is the problem of knowing some technical area. I warn my students to duck when a prof's pet research topic comes up in class. Someone who is a firearms expert might have something to say about the guns in this movie; a car guy on the black Pontiac GTO.
If you're wondering why a film about a first grader gets an R rating, consider that he doesn't stay a first grader, the f-word and other swear words get frequent flyer mileage, even being made fun of at one point, there's a lot of drinking and some mild drug use, and teenage boys being teenage boys. Frankly, I think IFC Films is right -- there's a lot that teens under 17 should be seeing. There are, amidst some chaos, some excellent and some awful bits of advice to the kids, sometimes from unlikely sources. Alas, we still are subject in these United States to an antiquated and inadequate movie ratings system.
It's not a perfect film, to which some will complain it's too long, too talky, but it is a well done film. We need the length to make each age work. I particularly liked that they didn't use title slides to change time. Time just flowed.
Don't know how long this one will last in the theatres. We had at least twenty adults and seniors for an early Sunday show. Seek this out.
Trailers: Hector and the Search for Happiness Simon Pegg leaves his psychiatric practice to search the world for happiness. Supporting cast includes Toni Collette, the always great Stellan Skarsgård and Christopher Plummer. Birdman about a washed up superhero actor trying to reclaim some glory. Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, so you know it's likely to be strange and good, and of course Unbroken, Hunger Games 3.1 and Hobbit 3.
ARGH! -- When I posted this in the wee hours this morning, I went to look at it on Dreamwidth... And not there. Checked LiveJournal... not there. Normally I close the last preview window before posting, but I hadn't, so if necessary I could have scraped it off the preview and reconstructed it, but geesh. One more thing to try. Did Previous Page back to the screen which confirmed posting to Dreamwidth and crossposting to LiveJournal. With trepidation, I clicked on View This Entry... And there it was. But not elsewhere... except that it was dated August 1, not September 1. The writing of the post had crossed the midnight barrier and the month hadn't been incremented. Seem to recall something about that in a code update post. Guess it's not completely fixed. Edited the date and reposted and both blog sites moved it to the top of the heap. Whew. Relief.