Gonzo’s review published on Letterboxd:
What's It About?: Growing up.
Who's In it?: Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelei Linklater.
The Good: The kids. The cast. The characters. The direction. The idea. The writing. The music. The 35mm. The laughs. The pathos. The holy-shit-that's-my-life moments. Everything.
The Bad: It's a 3-hour film, but I wish it went on forever.
What Did I Learn?: I learned to feel again. I was inspired again. This seals it—Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke are now my favorite director-actor duo. Thank you for making this wonderful film. (Also, I never imagined I'd love anything with freaking Soulja Boy in it, but damn, the way they utilized the soundtrack to indicate what year it is is truly brilliant.)
The Bottom Line: During a conversation towards the end between father and son, Mason brings up a question relevant to both the film and reality—he asks his dad, "What's the point of all of this?" What is the point of this 3-hour movie? What is the point of life? What are we doing here? Truth is, no one in this world really knows what the fuck they're doing. As Hawke puts it, everyone's just winging it. But it's the mom's sudden realization that perfectly sums it all up and serves as a fitting metaphor—life passes us by so fast. What Arquette's character goes through in real time, the audience experiences in hours, yet the effect is just as profound. The instant she bursts into tears, you come to the same realization, and at that very moment, the screen merges with the soul. You realize the whole time, you've witnessed art imitate life. It's crazy how our lives seem to meander oh so slowly when they slip away in a flash. Life does indeed pass us by in front of our eyes, just like a movie. Children grow into adults, love turns into hurt, dreams fade into disappointments, promises crumble into regrets. Friends, lovers, classmates, teachers, colleagues—they all come and go. Homes may move and hearts may change, but family is family, and life is life. We're born, we die. We make choices. We compromise. But beneath life's simplicity, and in between all those wasted hours and mundane "scenes" are "characters" worth knowing, memories worth keeping, love worth feeling, and a story worth "writing." Boyhood is not just the best movie playing in theaters this week. It's not the best film of the year. It's not the best of the decade. Boyhood is one of the best films ever made. The ultimate coming-of-age movie, Boyhood is an instant classic. Essential viewing.*
Overall Rating: ★★★★★
* I'm serious. Don't wait for it on cable. Don't wait for the DVD or Blu-ray. Definitely do not wait for the bootlegs online. This is an unprecedented film that deserves to be experienced in the big screen, so please go support the movie by watching it in the nearest theater. I mean, who spends 12 fucking years to make just one movie? That right there is pure passion and dedication. Kudos to Linklater and company for pursuing such a daunting task and taking us on a moving voyage unlike any other. So, to all of you following me, you better watch Boyhood this weekend or else. I'm checking logs. (Yes, all 1,628 of you.) Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this groundbreaking masterpiece!