Plot is a pretty important thing in the movies. Not just movies really. Books, games and even some music all relies on the idea of a story. It is something that it is hard to go without. Yet this week I saw what is probably my movie of the year and if you asked me to describe the plot I think I would seriously struggle. The answer, it is just life, just make me sound like a pretentious arse (which I may well be, but I should at least try and hide it). Yet if you ask me to describe Richard Linklater’s Boyhood in any other way, I really struggle. Because it is just life man.
Set over twelve years, what makes this film extraordinary is that it genuinely is set over those twelve years. This isn’t multiple actors playing the same character, but the same cast who met up year after year to film and put together a movie that essentially tells the childhood and teenage years of one boy called Mason. It’s a ridiculously ambitious project and the fact that it has worked says a lot about Linklater’s abilities as a film maker.
What makes this film is so special is that nothing special really happens. The moments where you begin to think something might happen, pre-conditioned by the movies we all go to see on a regular basis, it often fails to materialise. Because sometimes in life children play with sharp things and it doesn’t mean a visit to A&E. They manage to be complete idiots and get away with it, otherwise we would have a lot less children. Instead the special moments come from the little things that are so relatable. A father and son discussing whether there will any more Star Wars movies after the prequels, a wonderful little moment considering it was filmed long before the announcement of said films, or a mother reading Harry Potter to her children. Yes stuff happens, there are two failed marriages in there, while you also see Mason’s father grow from a lazy layabout into a responsible adult able to help care for his children, but these are just depicted as parts of life. They are stuff this family has to deal with much like you or your friends and neighbours do.
I’m not going to blab on any further about Boyhood because I think it is a movie that is getting its fair share of coverage at the moment. However, it is worth writing about because it is one of those movies that is unique. It does not tell a story that will stick in your head, but it gets across a feeling and an idea that made me quite honestly fall in love with it. So if you get a chance make sure and go check it out, just don’t expect it to be a normal film.