Cats at the Movies Review: Boyhood

When I first heard about Richard Linklater’s latest cinematic adventure Boyhood, I was a little put-off by the idea of a movie which followed the growth of the lead actors, spanning over twelve years altogether. Was this the influences of reality TV encroaching even further onto the battleground of cinematic integrity? It just seemed like an unnecessarily novel concept, to use the same actors for twelve years, simply for the sake of watching them grow up, but not necessarily contributing significantly to the overall vitality of the film.

But, as you might have expected, I soon found that this was not the case.


It is, in fact, an incredibly emotional experience to be able to watch the growth and maturation of what is truly, in the rawest sense, a modern American family. The movie has its own script and storyline, it doesn’t cater to reality TV’s pretense of taking over someone’s life with a camera, and so is able to maintain its integrity in that way. Furthermore, the actual growth of the actors, especially the central two children, presents an extremely poignant and uncensored view of modern childhood. Although the acting itself is perhaps not always up to par with the intensity of the story or the beauty of the cinematography, the realness of the emotional experience is able to overcome any sense of amateur.

The film is also especially significant for those of us at who are college-aged, because the actor who plays the lead character is presently our age, and so all of the cultural references which are scattered throughout the film correspond to the eras in our lives when we were experiencing these things. I couldn’t help but love the scene at the midnight release party for the 6th Harry Potter book, or the 8-year old singing pop songs which were pervasive in the early 2000s from artists like Avril Lavigne, or the father’s passionate rants about the newest Democratic candidate–Obama–as the 2008 elections rolled around. For me at least, it was almost like watching the last twelve years of my life on fast-forward, squeezed into 164 minutes.

Although I can guarantee that you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster, I also can’t stress enough how worthwhile and important this film is to see. It has been called one of the definitive movies of our generation, and I truly couldn’t agree more.