One CBC columnist aptly titled his review “12 years a Boy.” 12 years. 12 times an annual reunion with the same cast to produce this one film. THIS one…incredibly dull, purposeless film. Here are 12 reasons to avoid the hullabaloo and redeem the time you would waste by watching this year’s Oscar nom:
Reason 1. MUSIC & TECH. Most reviews have been ooohhh’ing and aahh’ing over Linklater’s use of music which sets the veritable stage as time beats on. This trick is not revolutionary or foreign to film. Being a period film, the occasional Britney Spears hit and a glimpse at the original Oregon Trail game is to be expected.
2. CAMERA ANGLES. The first scene opens on a young boy watching the sky. Most reviews have waxed poetic over reasons why he is watching the sky. So many metaphors could be made, reasons presumed. The reason is unclear, and unnecessary to unfold. The passing of time allows it to matter even less.CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
3. Ethan Hawke’s character, “Dad,” offers constant, ridiculous advice. He proves untrustworthy from the start but becomes a bit less so as time passes.
4. The character known simply as “Mom,” played by Patricia Arquette, obviously wants to do right by her children, but her choices prove selfish and continually deepen her sorrow and confusion.
5. All adult / potential mentors like teachers and employers become more childlike and less trustworthy as the two children age.
6. You get to know a few secondary characters who just disappear in the film. No, you never see them again. But you don’t seem to mind.
7. TITLE & MEANING. The film is called “Boyhood,” which is misleading since the coming-of-age views expressed in this film come equally from the sister and the parents.
8. STRING THEORY. For the same reason as #6, you won’t be bothered by the fact that I am skipping reason #9. Time will skip forward and you’ll just have to move along with it. Don’t worry. You haven’t missed anything.
10. HYGIENE. One fascinating observation that you will allow your mind time to ponder while watching this film, however, is the fact that the characters obviously shower less frequently as they get older. To the degree which your concern for their personal hygiene increases, your interest in the film decreases sevenfold.
11. BOWLING. Bowling is a repeated motif. I wonder if the idea of trying your best and being repeatedly mowed down is symbolic in any way. Nah. Too bad the bowling scenes are the more interesting offerings.
12. CONCLUSION. The pertinent moments of a boy’s life shown over those 12 years are in retrospect…pointless? Is that the point. If so, what a Nihilistic, God-forsaken, frustrating conclusion. Why was any of this nominated for awards?