A what it means to be a young

A
movie that is filmed with the same cast members shot in increments over the
course of 12 years directed by Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” is a groundbreaking
coming of age drama. As the audience, we get to witness the arc of the story
and the physical and emotional transformations each of the characters
experience as they grow and age against the backdrop of the world and its
events. At the core of the movie, it is less about what
it means to be a young boy than it is an aura of time and what it means to be
live in the moment. The
film’s scenes depict the average America culture represented by events of
family meals, outings, birthdays, and graduation. All these adventures capture
major milestones in each of the character’s lives.

            Through the eyes of Mason, played by
the film’s protagonist, Ellar Coltrane, you see so much curiosity, confusion,
and concern. Samantha, Mason’s older sister, played by the director’s daughter,
Lorelei Linklater, is very mature for her age and grows up right before our
eyes.
She changes from an obnoxious little girl determined to
make her brother cringe at the very thought of her to a preoccupied young lady contemplating
her next move in life. And
then there’s their mother, Olivia, played by Patricia Arquette, who seems to
never be really be satisfied with anything in life. Therefore, she endures a series of significant others that don’t necessarily
mean her any good all while trying to build a career and take care of her
family. Mason Sr.,
their father played by Ethan Hawke, whom Olivia is separated from, portrays the
cool, just “go with the flow” type of parent. He
drifts in and out of their lives and refuses to ascend towards the
responsibilities of adulthood until later on in the film. As one event rolls
into another, the film’s point of view will embody these qualities as time
unfolds.

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            In the opening scene of the movie, there’s a close-up of
Mason (age 6) lying on the ground, the camera is set in a crane shot directly
above him. It shows that he’s just a normal child just as any of us
have been. We’re then
introduced to Mason and his mother at school. Mason has recently been
distracted during class and hasn’t been turning in his homework. As the two
engage in the conversation, there is a close-up on Mason and we’re able to tell
that he is wondering why there is a reason for everything that everyone else
deems necessary to be done. The age of this movie definitely shows through the
music and technology throughout the duration of the film. Later on Olivia and
her current boyfriend have an argument about how she never has time for him
when reality is, she’s a full-time mother. Mason is awake in his room while the
argument is taking place. In the following scene, Samantha is taunting her
brother while singing Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again”, and just like any
other American family they have a little sibling fight. Later on, Olivia
mentions moving to Houston, Texas to make a better living for herself and the
kids.

            As we see the
character’s leaving their home for the last time, in a long shot, it allows us
to see the characters and all their belongings in front of their house. It
looks as though we were standing right across the street watching them pack and
leave. When Samantha is on the phone with her friend, Mason’s friend Tommy is
on the other line and Samantha tells him Mason can’t play due to the fact that
they’re moving. You can see the disappointment on Mason’s face and I believe
director Linklater intended for us to become emotionally invested at this
point. As they drive away, Mason is looking out of window at his friend not
knowing whether or not he would really see him again. Witnessing that, we have
a better understanding of the children’s discontent with their mother’s
decision about moving.

            As
time moves on, we then come in contact with their father for the first time
just as they do. In this specific scene they go bowling and try to make up for
the year of lost time they haven’t seen each other. Mason struggles at trying
to knock down the pins in the lane and conveys that he needs the side bumpers
to help him. His dad then replies with, “life doesn’t give you bumpers.” He
slightly touches Mason to try and get his attention and does a double take to
see if he’s really listening, but has a complex facial expression as though it
applied to him more personally. I believe Linklater strategically placed that
line of dialogue there to lure more of an elder audience connection based on
life experiences.

            Olivia
has since gotten married and everything seems to be all rave; that is until
Mason and Samantha’s stepfather, Bill, starts to become the most intolerable
jerk they’ve ever met. Unfortunately, Olivia had to find that out the hard way.

When Mason is telling Olivia about the way he feels about Bill, Linklater
included the most perfect light setting. It is significant to pay close
attention to this aspect because the expose of the natural sunlight from the
sun on Mason’s face clearly emphasized his distress to helping his mom
understand. It goes to show just how much he cares about what he is telling
Olivia. When Bill gets drunk, he gets uncontrollably angry and at dinner, the
entire family feels uncomfortable and scared. During this scene there is a
series of close-up shots to show of everyone at the table to show their reactions
and feelings. It almost makes you feel bad that you can’t do anything to help
because you don’t want to involve yourself in that circumstance.

            Mason’s
15th birthday scene showed a variety of contrast between his
nonchalant personality and who he portrays to be in front of his family. When
his dad gives him his gift in the minivan, Mason’s face is more shown more in
the shadows from the trees and his dads face is partly shown more in the
sunlight. Ironically, the bible he receives from his grandmother is all black
and the shotgun his grandfather gives him is a lot easier to hold onto. This
shows the more reserved side of Mason verses the more outgoing side of his
family and why it may seem a little complicated to fit in.

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