As soon as I saw the trailer for Boyhood a month or so ago, I knew I had to watch it when it was released. The last Richard Linklater film I saw was Before Midnight, earlier this year. The ‘Before’ trilogy deserves a whole post to itself… so I’ll get back to Boyhood for now.
I went to see it on Wednesday night with my friend Julie, at the Tyneside Cinema, which is one of my favourite places in Newcastle and undoubtedly one of the best independent cinemas in the UK in my (very humble) opinion (The Guardian think it’s pretty special too. Click here). I tried to write something fancy about the Tyneside Cinema but I can’t say it better than this (taken from their website)
We show the best films in stylish and beautiful surroundings, and our varied programme ranges from brilliant films from all over the world to the best Hollywood has to offer. As the last surviving Newsreel theatre still operating as a cinema full-time in the UK, our Grade II-listed building is an important, must-see piece of heritage, not just regionally, but nationally too and it has been lovingly restored to preserve and celebrate the grandeur of its original 1937 art deco design.
The film was showing in the Electra theatre, we picked the middle seats in the middle row. (I did have my usual ridiculous concern about being blocked in, like on the bus… I’m weird). I should also mention that before the film started, whilst waiting for Julie to pay for her popcorn and diet coke, a man walked past me and took some of my popcorn from my carton! He said nothing, just took it, popped it in his mouth and walked past. Funny ( also a bit odd… maybe he just really fancied some popcorn).
Here are some photos I took… before we get to the film! When you get to the stained glass window – this was uncovered during the huge renovation and restoration work done a few years ago. Beautiful!
Shot intermittently over 12 years using the same cast, it’s a classic coming-of-age story filmed in real time, without the clichés… You see the kids grow up (and the adults get older) on screen and that in itself is pretty special. Critics are calling it ‘epic’. I wouldn’t disagree. We watch Mason Jr. grow up from an easily distracted daydreaming 6 year old, to a young man about to start college. We witness his journey with his elder sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) & mum Olivia (Patricia Arquette – outstanding) as they move around Texan towns (and the trials and tribulations they encounter along the way). There are a couple of step-fathers, step-siblings, and I can’t believe I’ve got this far without pointing out that Mason’s (somewhat unsteady) dad is played by Ethan Hawke who flits in and out of the film. The character development is gradual – like in real life – and the story so fluid, that at one point I couldn’t believe Mason was now 15 years old. It’s my favourite kind of film… there is a lot of conversation and daily life is being documented with nothing too dramatic happening. It’s Linklater’s classic natural dialogue and realism that really appealed to me in this film. He makes it all about the smaller moments in between the bigger landmarks of growing up (which incidentally aren’t shown, first kiss/prom etc). It ticks all the boxes for me, although it was a tiny bit longer than I’d anticipated. Having said that, I wouldn’t want it to be any shorter, I simply had no idea it was just over 2.5 hours long. Twelve years documented in less than three hours. I’d call this film a masterpiece, is that overly dramatic? I know it’s only July but it’s my film of 2014. I’ve thought about it all day today (FYI this hasn’t happened to me since watching ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’ by Miranda July in 2005). Get yourself to the Tyneside Cinema to watch it before they stop showing it. (I might even go again). There’s so much more I could say but I’ve bored everyone around me to death talking about it today so I’ll leave it here. I’d love to hear what you thought if you’ve been to see it!
Picture below documenting each year in the film is taken from ibtimes.co.uk