The surest sign of a great work of art is its ability to get into one's head and stay there for a long time. Sure, we all like idiot entertainment now and then. It's fine to enjoy a dumb comedy, or a mindless action movie. But when a movie stays and haunts the viewer long after it is watched, that is a real achievement.

Linklater's Boyhood didn't just stay in my head. It is as if a I swallowed a marlin hook and had it rip my guts out.

I run hot and cold on the film work of Richard Linklater. Take Slacker...please! While it gave film student types spontaneous orgasms, the movie bored me to tears. Watching people I would cross the street to avoid isn't my idea of a great time.

Then came Dazed and Confused, which blew me away. Linklater captured high school (emphasis on the word, high) perfectly. I've seen this one numerous times and I treasure it.

I didn't care so much for some of the others. Before Sunrise was beautiful to look at, but I found it to be uninvolving and dull. I probably need to give these movies a second chance.

I despised The School of Rock, but my distaste for Jack Black has a lot to do with that.

I actually enjoyed his Bad News Bears remake.

So I considered Linklater to be a director to watch, but not necessarily one to get excited about. Which is probably why I didn't see Boyhood for a while.

I corrected that this past weekend, and I am still winded by the experience.

Boyhood, plain and simple, is a masterpiece. I have literally never been so affected by a motion picture as this one. It is more, much more, than a gimmick. Boyhood is sweet and sad, funny and tragic, joyous and heartbreaking.

One scene got to me above all others. It really isn't much on the surface and I doubt if many others were as moved by it as I was. Kids were in line at a midnight Harry Potter release party. Many of them were dressed up as characters from the books, and all of them were excited about getting their copies of the new novel.

It brought back so much to me. I raised children in the '00 decade, and the Harry Potter phenomenon was so strong. My kids loved the books. The scenes of the party made me feel anguish and deep sadness. They made me long for those wonderful days and they made me miss my children desperately.

But it was more than that. Those humble scenes made me feel such love for the joy, the enthusiasm, the passion, the imagination, and the unbridled wonder that children have.

Boyhood is filled with moments like that. It's story is both extraordinary and mundane. An average life of a bright boy in love with life. His experiences are true and real and they burn with humanity.

Not everyone is as enamoured of Boyhood as I am. Some criticize its pacing and felt that it should have been more exciting. More explosions, or more sex and violence, probably.

Some also complain about the "naturalistic" film style. To them I recommend more viewings of Guardians of the Galaxy. Or hold their breath until the Avengers sequel is released.

Boyhood broke my heart and made me weep with joy and sadness. I cannot say that I ever enjoyed a movie more than I did this one.

Richard Linklater nailed my generation with Dazed and Confused, and now he has nailed the Millennials with Boyhood. I am in awe of him.

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry