I’ve been really nice today with my reviews and doting over certain movies that it’s time I go ahead and just even things out a little bit.
I feel like I’ve been hating on this movie for months, years even, but it’s really only been about a month since I saw it (maybe a touch longer) and it’s not that I’ve even said all that much about it, but because of all that undeserved love, affection, praise and accolades that it has been receiving, it feels longer, so much longer. The thing is, I’ve been sitting on this review, trying to figure out the best way to express my feelings about this movie and it struck me as really odd that I just could never come up with anything. I felt like I had nothing to say, really, and the bottom line that I drew was that I kind of had no feelings about this movie.
And that, my friends, kind of says it all.
‘Boyhood’ is, without question, the film of the year. It’s the film that everyone is talking about, whether it be because they saw the movie or were told they needed to see the movie or were just bombarded by all the hype surrounding it’s uniquely creative construction. YES, I will give it that (and, I’m warning you now, this is all I’ll give it); the idea behind the FILMMING of ‘Boyhood’ is clever.
But it ends there.
Really, I can’t even say that the idea behind the story is clever, just the way it was shot. Taking the same actors and filming for one day every year for twelve years (or whatever) is wholly original and intriguing and should have produced a better movie. I think many people were taken by the concept and the idea and forgot that those elements don’t make a good movie if that idea and that concept aren’t executed well. I wanted to love this. I feel like I am the demographic, the audience for this movie. If anyone was going to laud this and champion this for awards and whatnot, it’s the family man who lavishes richly constructed stories about families, life and family life. But this movie says absolutely nothing about families, life or family life, and it is because of that that I cannot with all this ‘Boyhood’ praise.
This movie is about as empty and hollow as they come.
Every time I say this someone has to bark at me about how ‘that was the point’ and that this movie was just ‘a series of moments’ or ‘snapshots of life’ and that it was supposed to show that ‘life isn’t always so dramatic’ or whatever, but life does have a point, life does have a beating heart, and ‘Boyhood’ expressed none of that. Instead of actually developing something, anything, within the tapestry of half stories, ‘Boyhood’ lets every ball drop, every end stay loose, and pretty much resigns itself to rest within the ‘idea’ it sparked and expects that the audience respect it enough for what it pretended to bring to the table. I like my ‘moments’ as much as the next guy, but I also like to feel my characters, know them, connect with them, and ‘Boyhood’ settles for giving us a name and, like, sometimes not even that.
To quote Patricia Arquette’s absolute nothing of a character; “I just thought there would be more.”
I’m so tired of people trying to say that this is epic filmmaking or something to change the way we make films and get all bent out of shape when anyone has a different opinion. I hope this doesn’t change the way we make films. I hope this doesn’t mean that people are going to start fighting over the next gimmicky storytelling narrative and forgetting that the most important part of any movie is THE STORY! This script is, for lack of a better word, incomplete. This isn’t a story. People, ‘snapshots’ or ‘moments’ are only really impactful if they represent something, if they bring to our hearts something meaningful, and they can only carry that meaning if they tell us a story.
‘Boyhood’ is a revolving door of scenes that don’t mesh, moments that don’t matter and men who obviously don’t want to stay married to Patricia Arquette (but who would, since she’s so awfully boring).
We should be rewarding this?
D. I want so badly to give this an F, but, like, I guess it isn't abysmal, although Linklater should have learned from Coppola that you don't ever cast your daughter in an important role in your film, because she gives one of the very worst performances I've ever seen anyone give, ever.