Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Life in the blink of an eye. Richard Linklater's Boyhood is caught between knowing its place and longing for it, between appreciating the fleeting futility of human existence on this planet and seeking greater depth and meaning within it. Linklater is sage enough to understand this dichotomy, reminding us of our own inescapable mortality while accepting that we might as well seek more meaning within our lives, since they're all we've got. He's not sage enough to grasp the position of his players within their lives, though, addressing their thoughts and their concerns with utmost trust and sincerity. His film is determinedly subjective, and while that provides the viewer with a vast expanse on which to build our personal interpretations, it does make Boyhood feel a little more pat than it wishes to be. As skilled as he is in expressing them, Linklater's messages are simplistic and unoriginal. Boyhood is extremely easy to watch, however, its depiction of one boy's maturation a fascinating thing to behold in this perfectly-judged space of time - precisely the right length of film to capture both the individual moments in time and their collective significance. Remarkably, his cast slips into character seamlessly with each installment in the narrative, and their performances have an amiable, unforced timbre. Sporadic strains at poignancy feel like schematic jolts, purposeless in context; Boyhood is at its most touching when it surrenders to the simple passing of time as it is experienced. It's in the subjectivity that we bring to watching it that we understand this life, in the blink of an eye.