Director and Writer Richard Linklater / Wiki Commons
Picture House Critic-in-Residence Marshall Fine with Boyhood Producer John Sloss
On Tuesday, The Pelham Picture House hosted the Westchester premiere of the much-anticipated film, Boyhood, which will open nationwide on July 18. There was not an empty seat in the house, as kids, parents, and grandparents filed in, awaiting the film that would unravel the complexities of America’s youth through one boy’s journey from adolescence to adulthood.
The 160-minute film follows 12 years in the life of Mason (Eltar Coltrane) from grade school to college, as he grows up on screen before our very eyes. We embark on the journey with him from youthful innocence to the challenges of adult life, struggling to make sense of the complex world we live in. We see the world through Mason’s eyes as he’s pestered by his irritating older sister and confused by the revolving door of men in his mother’s life. We’re frustrated when he doesn’t fit in the cookie-cutter mold of the American school system and proud when he finds his true calling—we’re giddy as he falls in love, and are saddened by his first heartbreak. We bond with the young boy, and feel a level of compassion few films can generate.
Boyhood has no tipping point or surprise ending. It doesn’t have an elaborate plot or single life-altering moment. But what it lacks in plot, it makes up for in transitions, as we watch Mason and his family flow from one phase to the next. It shows the progression of life as we watch Mason’s jaw sharpen, Samantha’s body change, and their mother’s eyelids begin to crease. Boyhood successfully packs 12 years into less than three hours.
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When the lights turned on, the mother next to me was blotting her eyes.
The guest speaker and producer of the film, John Sloss, took center stage to explain the production of the monumental film. After learning about the making of Boyhood, it made sense why there are no other films of its kind. Director Richard Linklater’s meticulous process of filming took 12 years, thousands of takes and infinite patience. He gathered his four core actors and shot a few days each year to make the character progression as realistic as possible. Sloss was nervous that not all of the actors would stick it out for a decade of filming, which would have ruined all the film had to offer. Each scene was carefully planned and shot, focusing on spatial proximity between characters and mood-evoking music. As he did in movies like Dazed and Confused, Linklater again placed a strong emphasis on the film’s soundtrack.
Boyhood opens nationwide on July 18.