Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr



Richard Linklater is a master at capturing the mood of a town (Bernie), generation (Slacker), or period of life (Dazed and Confused). In his latest film, Boyhood, he uses this talent to follow the life of a boy from age six to eighteen. Linklater is probably the first director to take twelve years to film and make a movie, but what he does in Boyhood should be familiar to all his fans. He captures life, and this film is Linklater at his best. He goes all out and delivers a film with all the feeling and emotions of what it is like to grow up. Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason, gives a stellar performance over the span of twelve years. Mason grows and the audience is privileged to have a front row seat to his life.

The film is not plot heavy. It is more like a string of memories. These memories are probably from the mind of Richard Linklater since he wrote the film, but they are memories that most people will be able to relate to. It is also evident that Linklater himself has grown up since the days of Slacker and Dazed and Confused. The parents played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke have a significant role in the film. Obviously, there has to be parents in a story about a child growing up, but in Boyhood we are given insights into how the parents feel and what they might have done differently. There are ups and downs. The viewer is a witness to both the beautiful and ugly side of parenting. Boyhood is perhaps the most realistic coming of age film that has ever been made.

Everyone’s reaction to Boyhood will be different because we all bring different feelings, emotions, and life experiences to the film. At certain points I was whisked back to my childhood and was recounting memories I had not thought of in years. At other points I was thinking about my own role as a parent. Although each person may not respond the same way to every scene, it is a deeply moving film. There is something in it that should resonate with nearly everyone.

The family in the film are not Christians. They are like many families who do not identify with any religion. They are not opposed to it. It is just something they have not embraced. At one point in the film the family does cross paths with a devout Christian family. There is no ill will towards this family, but it is also evident that Christianity is unfamiliar and strange to them. A Christian watching this film may be tempted to judge the characters for some of their behaviors and choices, but I believe that would be a mistake. There are some poor decisions that are made and some objectionable advice that is given, but all parents, Christians and non-Christians alike, make poor decisions. The point of Boyhood is to connect with the film and examine our own lives. It is a heartfelt film made by a parent who has obviously wrestled with the difficulties of parenthood. No one gets it perfect, but we can all learn something and strive to be better. I think Boyhood helps us do this. It is a tribute to growing up, but it is also a film with parenting close to its heart.

Boyhood is an experience. It is nearly three hours long, but it does not feel like a long film. It grabs you and you are taken on an incredible ride. It has its lighter moments, but it is a serious film. It is a film that I have not stopped thinking about since I saw it, and I will probably continue to think about it in the days ahead. It does what you hope most films will do. It moves you. It moves you in unexpected ways, and for that I am thankful.

One Response to “Boyhood”

  1. It’s a long movie, but man, it breezes by so smoothly it’s hardly even noticeable. Good review.

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