Consequence of Sound launched its brand-new film section today! Here’s what I had to say about “Boyhood”:
Why has Boyhood been heralded by film critics and moviegoers with such thunderous and nearly universal acclaim? The answer is complex and the reasons manifold.
First and foremost, director Richard Linklater’s literal interpretation of the coming-of-age story represents a landmark achievement in narrative cinema: filming one core group of actors — separated parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, respectively) and their two children, Sam (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane, the film’s focal point and star) — for three-day intervals over the course of 12 years.
Second, watching characters grow older onscreen is in many ways akin to watching a home movie; becoming more emotionally invested and even protective of these people is a natural progression, an involuntary empathy as the result of what feels like a shared experience.
Third, rarely has a film captured the more mundane aspects of everyday life with such poignancy and familiar closeness, as Mason’s selective memories of events both big and small, from a Harry Potter premiere party in elementary school to his first day of college, paint a canvas onto which we can project our own experiences.
The opening shot is of a six-year-old Mason staring up at a deep blue sky, eyes wide with wonder, and the film ends on a similar note with Mason at 18, awestruck by the endless well of possibilities that are yet to come. And even with a considerable runtime of nearly three hours, Boyhood, much like the fleeting, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it transition from childhood to adulthood, goes by quickly, in flashes of simple, intimate moments and insights that leave a lasting impression.
As a pigtailed, plaid-skirted Catholic schoolgirl in the most nonsexual embodiment of those words – nine, freckled, morose – I would hide in the chapel during recess and pray for a deferment on womanhood. I begged God to keep me a forever child, my fingernails digging little half-moons into my palms. I prayed to be absolved of sins I had not yet committed but feared I would: the ones that strip a child’s innocence like a Band-Aid so quick they can do nothing but feel the afterburn and gape at the boils where their birthmarks used to be. I imagined Jesus, my Peter Pan, turning away from my window in disgust — woman! — as hot tears spilled down my cheeks, no, no, no. I willed myself to take root as a Virgin statue, liquescing into the same stuff that fortified this church, stone and brick and mortar and hardwood pounding into my knobby knees, castigating me for my detestable budding form.
The prayer was self-flagellation.
Rip! I’m 19. I grew up fast because I grew with you. I became part of you, like Adam’s rib. In your hands I was absolved, skin on fire, begging for more. You owned me; I adored you. You were perfect in the reflection of my gaze, the wanting of a Lost Child. And then you turned. From an angel into a thing that turned my stomach: green vomit into a commode, teenage body splayed on a bathroom floor. The tile is cold beneath my cheek, like a slap, or a kiss.
I want to close my eyes and just like that, disappear. I want to fly away on angel wings. I want to pretend you were never real, like god never was, because you and god are one and the same — wishful thinking — and the epiphany hits me like a thunderbolt, like a prophecy.
There is comfort in the absence of god.
Can a man and a woman ever just be “just friends”?
The festival’s 10th installment in Grant Park was muddy, controversial, and loud.
Beautiful photos & amazing moments from the CoS team at Lollapalooza.