For Friday’s Featured Flick, I watched Boyhood. Actually, after watching it, I thought that maybe it should be called “I Just Grew Up All Over Again.” It really is a remarkable film and while watching it, I was really struck by two standout features of it. Firstly, the simplicity of the storyline. No action sequences, no murders or mysteries, no special effects – it was all about the characters, the relationships they had with one another, and the overall day-to-day experiences of growing up and the situations that this entails. Secondly, of course, would be the fact that film follows these actors/characters as they literally grow older since the film was shot over a period of twelve years.
In the creation of this film altogether, writer/director, Richard Linklater, knew that there was a loosely defined imprint of how the script was to play out, with the rest of the story really following the actors and the people they developed into. So, with the actors growing and changing throughout the film (yes, even the adult actors), so came the expected changes in their personalities and tastes and experiences and so became the story that makes up Boyhood.
Overall, when I was watching Boyhood, I thought it was like watching a slightly distorted home video from my childhood. Gazing at the screen, watching the story unfold, I remembered the anticipation of a new Harry Potter novel, what it felt like to be torn away from friends because you had to move away, the embarrassment of not fitting in with the other kids at school, the pang of a break-up, the joy of graduating from high school, moving out for the first time, going to college – altogether the experiences of leaving childhood behind.
It’s an interesting story and the way in which it was developed is possibly even more interesting (I mean, no real story structure? Talk about free writing at its best!). However, when watching it, don’t just focus on the physical changes of the actors, focus on the intimate changes (the changes that you can’t predict, like the paths of life that are chosen, the personality developments, etc.). Life has a blueprint, but one can only see so far for the rest is left up to chance – the screenplay of Boyhood magically captures this fact of life.