Boyhood captured so well the essence of growing up for me, I feel exactly like the nineteen year old kid in the fourth row of the Sundance Film Festival - this movie captured my life. Obviously the set dressings were different, but the rolling, languid quality of each moment striding into the next drew me into my own memories of growing up perfectly. It spoke on some primal, unintelligible level, as if made solely for me; providing me with the clear message that I am not alone in the experience of life - and that message is one I’ve noticed other people commenting on, in various forms.
But it goes beyond capturing the essence of growing out of childhood - there are dozens of excellent films which focus on that theme; there is something more to Boyhood than the effigy of budding maturity. Boyhood, for all that it’s a narrative construction, feels more like a sample of real life than most documentaries, in part I think, because real life does have a quality of the fantastical and the unreal to it. A documentary attempts to capture the world as it is, but in so doing acquires a note of “flatness”. Boyhood, as a fictional narrative, married, through its actors, to reality, has managed to recreate the actual “feeling” of existence. Not merely growing up, but life in general. A series of moments collapsing behind us as each new one arrives. “Always Now” would have been a overbearing title (Boyhood was, I think, just right), but it does fit the essence of the film.
The New Yorker piece by Nath Heller was a really excellent accompaniment to the film, as it dealt less with attempting to directly critique the material, and more with the surrounding elements that went into its construction. A mini-biography of the director, and the twelve-year life of the film. It helped me collect my thoughts for this little opinion piece.
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