Thursday, 25 September 2014


Dir: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

The concept of Boyhood is an interesting one: Film a fictional life over a period of 12 years using the same cast and see how things develop. In truly theatrical cliche styling, it "blurs the boundaries between art and life." (I've never wanted to say that.)

This premise has been used only once before... by me. Yes, Narry Borman has been secretly filming his life since the age of 7 months. Now, at the age of 15 months, NB is almost ready to unleash his magnum opus on the world: Babyfood, it's called. Oh, it's incredible. Well, it's better than Boyhood anyway.

For you see, Narry Borman did not enjoy this film. The most entertaining nuggets can be boiled down from the painful 3 hours that Boyhood currently requires to a period of about 15 minutes: His sister singing and dancing in the opening scene, the point where he gets into photography, and that scene where he goes camping with his dad.

Films don't have to be entertaining, though. Aside from the entertainment value, Boyhood should have some merit as a well crafted film. For NB, it falls short in this area too. The soundtrack is well chosen. And there's some nice acting. But for a film that is trying to capture life in its fullness, it falls well short. Indeed, Boyhood manages only to present a very limited, very American take on normality, and while a few of the characters are quite engaging, it's hard to sympathize with them when their lives are mere fictional representations created from a pastiche of modern cliches.

If you're going to document a life and it's interconnecting parts, make it an interesting one. That's why I made Babyfood.

Rating: Hmm...

1 comment:

  1. True. An interesting idea and concept and for it to be filmed as a fictional story with the same cast is pretty cool. But the really disappointing part of the realisation of this idea was the reliance on the stereotypical Americanisms and American dreams. Dreams of being unique and different from the average guy, without realising that the uniqueness they are striving for just moves them into another stereotypical group or category whose personality traits and goals are just as predictable and arguably mundane as the 'average guys'. They don't want to be heroes, they don't want to be powerful, but 'fight with everyone else'...fight the same ideas, the same 'power', the same 'classes' without an inkling of an original idea. Without realising just how influenced they’ve been by the culture that surrounds them, the people they idolize, and the places they find themselves in and just how similar this can be despite the variation in the places or experiences. The ending for me felt like a living oxymoron. In my head, Mason when he just moved to college, even although we only see his first few hours, seemed like the one and only glimmer of hope that he might move on and actually become someone or do something unique and abstract from the typical American dreams (deliberately plural to include the groups that think they're standing out) because for a brief 10 seconds it actually made me think of what could have been the start of Christopher McCandless' (Supertramp) start at college (Film: Into the Wild, 2007; the biographical adaptation of the survival and travels of Christopher McCandless). Yet again, the unsurprising Americanisms take over again with the fact he happened to be roommates with a guy with a practically identical personality and be surrounded already by those who want to just 'experience life as it comes', 'live in the moment' and who held other similarly nauseating ideas that belong to those who think they stand out and are immensely superior to your average guy because of their unique thinking and outlook in life.
    If there was a sequel, I'm not saying I wouldn't watch it...but honestly, that'd probably just be for the soundtrack.