The disappointments of Boyhood are rife

A review by Roxanne Daniels

As the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) seems only disappointing, so the movie became disappointing as I watched it. Although nominated for six Oscars and has been ranked as #137 on IMDB’s list of top 250 movies, I did not enjoy this film. It follows the life of one boy (along with his family and friends) for 12 years. What is unique about the film is that it was a 12 year project, using the same actor for the boy as he grew up into a lanky teenager who did all the ‘teenager things’; trying sex, drugs and alcohol.

Mason is exposed to divorce at a young age, seeing his mother (Patricia Arquette) divorce three times from drunken irresponsible men before he leaves to go to university. Although Mason‘s onscreen father (Ethan Hawke) is one of those men his mother divorces, he turns out to be faithful to his son offering loving advice along the way despite his own mishaps.

Even though his mother picks herself up, goes back to school and acquires her dream job in teaching psychology, she offers the least hopeful advice and guidance despite her best efforts to raise her son well.

For the duration of the film there was little hope along the way with none of the chief characters agreeing that they have purpose in this world. They all seemed to bumble along waiting to discover meaning which never came.

Perhaps it was the minor characters that added some light to this film; Mason’s step grandmother confidently gave him his first Bible on his 15th birthday with the thought that it would add direction to his life. A foreign worker who spoke little English when fixing some pipes for Mason’s mother, turned up later in the film having heeded her advice; he had gone to school, learned English and became a manager at restaurant while studying a Bachelor’s degree. He thanked her with happiness.

I was left feeling bereft for the characters whose lives were closely followed, but happy to be reminded that I have my own purpose and meaning in life. I only wish that Mason could have that too.

Boyhood is out on DVD in South Africa and has been nominated for six Oscars. The Oscars award ceremony takes place on 22 February 2015.

Ellar Coltrane plays Mason, the boy whose life is closely followed for 12 years. Photo: Creative Commons.

Ellar Coltrane plays Mason, the boy whose life is closely followed for 12 years. Photo: Creative Commons.

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