I did not like Boyhood.
I remember last year when I first started reading about Linklater’s film, I was intrigued. The story of how the film was made is interesting and no doubt, a great accomplishment. That they could film this continuous story over 12 years with the same actors is both ambitious and risky. Yet, it paid off immensely as the film started to get attention and more and more people sung its praises. My excitement level grew after every review that I read, but the review that flat out sold me was Drew McWeeny’s review over at Hitfix. Seriously, that is a phenomenal piece of writing and one of the best reviews I have read in a long time.
Now, my anticipation for the movie was through the roof. I kept looking at when the film would expand. Why isn’t this showing in more places? Will I even get a chance to see this one? Binghamton rarely gets the smaller films and/or if they do, it comes months after. So, I was looking at when the movie would be playing back at home, and lo and behold, it was playing around the time that I was planning to go home. Or did I time it that way? I can’t remember. Is that bad? O, well.
So, I go home one week last year. I wake up in the morning–I think it was a Saturday, and head to an early morning showing. O yea, I have no problem watching movies alone. 1. No one in my family cares about movies the same way that I do and 2. It is just so much more convenient and hassle-free. But, back to the movie. I enter the theater; it’s playing in one those smaller ones–you know the ones with only a one door entrance. The theater is empty. I can’t remember if there were one or two people that eventually showed up but it felt like I was the only one there. So, the trailers finish, and I think to myself, “this is it.”
The film ends, and my first thought is “huh?” I had to process why I was having the reaction that I was having. Could it be that I was feeling disappointment?
“Nooooo, stop it. You will love it. Just give it time–it’s one of those films”
It’s been months since I have seen the film, and I still feel the same way. I know this post is largely dramatic, but it really does suck when you don’t like something that is so universally loved. I know some people that think critical consenus is bs, but I don’t agree. I think a film, or television show, or an album that can touch so many different people, is extraordinary. Drew’s review and how the movie hit so close to home for him is a perfect example of this. I do not begrudge that. Honestly, I’m jealous, because I wish I had that reaction.
I have thought long and hard about why I did not particularly enjoy Boyhood. The movie felt extremely tedious to me. I think you if you strip away the premise and execution that went in making the film, you have a fairly generic coming-of-age story. It is also a very white movie. That is not particularly surprising as most movies are largely the same. Yet, it just was not compelling to me. The entire movie is largely dependent on Ellar Coltrane’s performance, and while he did an okay job, I just do not think it was enough.
Then you have Patricia Arquette’s performance. Look, I think she did a fine job. But, that one scene that everyone is taking about–the one where she has the breakdown when Mason goes off to college, did not work for me. I remember watching it in theaters and thinking that this is really awkward and does not fit with what we have seen in everything leading up to this moment. I’ve seen people state that it’s about motherhood, but it felt out of place to me. I honestly do not know but it also felt like a very white reaction?
I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating, the way Boyhood was made is far more interesting than the actual film itself. The way it was made is daring, but the story presented to us is much of the same. The thing is I can write a whole other post about the lack of diversity in films. That is a problem that still exists today as the 2015 Oscar nominations clearly indicate. Zero…ZERO actors of color nominated in the acting categories. Do not even get me started. Yet, there were many largely white movies and stories that I saw last year that I did enjoy. For instance, Whiplash–one of my favorite movies of 2014. The thing is there was an actual story, and it was enthralling. Can we talk about THAT final sequence?
So, yeah. Boyhood. Not a fan. But, I can see why so many people loved it. I respect that.
Now, go see Selma (and Whiplash) (and Nightcrawler).