Thursday, 25 September 2014
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.