"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Million Dollar Movie


I saw Boyhood yesterday and it unfolds like a movie version of a family photo album. I’ve never been a particular fan of Richard Linklater’s movies but this one is beautiful in quiet, subtle–but not precious–ways.  It has a different sense of pacing from most American movies. It almost feels European in that way. It reminded me of the best parts of Malick,  Altman, and, particularly, early Jonathan Demme. There are some unnerving moments but Linklater likes people. He isn’t sunny, exactly–at least not in a phony way–but has a hopeful view of the world.

The movie is long, sometimes talky, even boring at times, but not in a way that breaks the spell. It’s just that the movie is in no hurry. Oh, and it’s also funny in a dry, deadpan way.

The performances were better than convincing. I felt immersed in the characters’ lives.  Ellar Coltrane, in the lead role, is special, man. (I’ve never cared for Ethan Hawke and he’s terrific here.)

I was so involved that after the first hour I forgot about how the movie was filmed. I understand why Manohla Dargis has seen it 3 times and wants to go again. 

Worth your time.



1 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2014 11:04 am

My mom was single mom raising 3 kids and was involved with an alcoholic. There's something similar depicted here and it rang true to me.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2014 12:21 pm

Also, Linklater doesn't use the popular technique of having the shaky, documentary-style camera. His compositions are more traditional and I think it increases the realism. The shaky camera to suggest a heightened reality is played out, if you ask me.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2014 12:24 pm

And...really good baseball scene in there.

4 lentnej   ~  Jul 14, 2014 12:36 pm

I'm jealous that you got to see it. I'm out here in the middle of nowhere so will have to wait until at least mid- August then drive 90 minutes to see it. But I plan to do just that. Thanks for the review. I'm not much of a Linklater fan myself so it's good to hear from that perspective.

5 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 14, 2014 1:35 pm

Been looking forward to seeing this. Very interesting way to make a movie. Glad to hear it's worth the time. I've heard great things about the kid's performance, and Patricia Arquette's.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2014 1:39 pm

It's all understated. I listened to an interview with Linklater and it was interesting because he said the greatest luxury in making this movie is the time he was afforded. Not just to film it but to dwell on it, to ponder things. He'd shoot for a few days, and then edit that material. It's not like he waited 12 years to start putting things together.

But the element of time, needing the time, not only in a literal way, to make the movie, but in an artistic one, is fascinating. He seems like he has the ideal temperament to try something like this. It is an ambitious undertaking. But he's so disciplined and focused in what is interesting to him that it didn't get away from him.

All of the actors are really good. Linklater's daughter is wonderful in it, too.

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 14, 2014 2:24 pm

I don't fully understand how the Oscar machine works, but shouldn't something this ambitious have been released closer to nomination time?

8 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2014 4:00 pm

7) Well, I think it's a long shot for a Best Picture Award. It'll get a lot of press for it's ambition and daring but really the story is so episodic and underplayed it doesn't really fit the kind of movie that is celebrated by the academy.

But I don't have any insight as to why they released it now. I know it debuted at Sundance and that was months ago. And I'm sure it'll have a re-release come the holiday season.

9 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 15, 2014 11:38 pm

I wanna see. I hope it doesn't take 12 years to reach Japan.

We get Spiderman before you guys and Woody Allen films a year or two later. Go figure.

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