It was just another pleasantly warm summer day in New York City as I walked back from the subway to my apartment. On the subway, it occurred to me that I had an unexpected free night in New York. With no desire to go see a show on Broadway or an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I decided that I wanted to see a “Boyhood” with my closest childhood friend. Before the movie began, we talked about how we were ready to experience a blast from the past. We started talking about all of our childhood memories, such as our first kiss, our biggest troublemaker moment and our most embarrassing moments. It was nice to bring back old memories.
“Boyhood” is unique in that it was filmed over the course of 12 years, and the intimacy that Richard Linklater, the writer/director of “Boyhood,” relays to his audience is amazing. There has never been a film that has felt so relatable to me. I have talked with various people about the film, and we all agree that men enjoyed the film much more than women did. Moments such as the camping trip Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) goes on with his father (Ethan Hawke) is something almost every boy would dream of doing with their father. On their camping trip, they bond over music, talk about “Star Wars” and discuss girls. During this scene, I could not restrain myself from smiling and feeling a warm sensation of familiarity. Furthermore, these are the types of moments that I dreamed of the most as a child. Because audience members can live vicariously through Mason Jr., Mason Sr. felt like as much of a father to me as he did to Mason Jr.
Many scenes made the audience laugh out loud together and nod their heads in agreement with what Mason Jr. was experiencing. I saw that many of the viewers simultaneously frowned, smirked and laughed throughout the film. To be part of a crowd in which everyone felt like they were all on the same page was an extremely unique experience. I walked into that theater not knowing anyone, but as I got up from my seat at the end, I felt as if I had shared a special moment with all of them. Once the movie ended, I sat in complete amazement of how the director touched upon my life so accurately. I had felt the same emotions as Mason Jr. had in different circumstances. After seeing the audience’s reactions, it’s safe to say that this seemed to apply to everyone else.
The transformation of the father is also one of the most gratifying parts of the movie. In the beginning, he seems like that classical “cool” dad who still had not found himself, which is why the mother divorced him. As time goes by, though, he becomes more loving and caring. There is nothing more soothing to see than a dad being a true dad.
Olivia (Patricia Arquette), Mason Jr.’s mother, also proves to be an incredibly compassionate figure when Mason Jr. leaves for college. This moment in the movie is one of the most difficult ones for the audience to watch, especially for mothers who have dealt with their own children leaving the house. In most families, mothers generally have extremely strong connections with their children and commit significant time to taking care of them. Personally, my mother was the one who raised me when my dad was at work every day. She knows everything about me.
When Mason Jr., the last of the children in the house, leaves, his mother realizes that she has to start focusing on her own life and that it is finally time to let her children go. This is something that every parent experiences. Again, this allows all types of audiences to be able to relate. Life goes on though, and we all get older and face new challenges every day. Now the mother has to accept that and start anew.
“Boyhood” is not action packed. It is not a thriller. It is not a romance. It is not all that complicated. Rather, it is a simple yet beautifully crafted story of a kid named Mason growing up. There is no flash or flair, just love and care. Somebody once told me, “It is those who appreciate the small things in life who live the longest and happiest lives.” “Boyhood” is comprised of all those small things that all of us usually just look past, and it makes an inspiring attempt to open our eyes to those little intricacies of life.