Sunday, March 22, 2015


Every now and then on this blog I will review a book or a film or a television program, regardless of when it was made or written. Last night I rented a video of the 2014 film Boyhood, which had been nominated for a few Oscars last month.

It is a simple coming-of-age story, tracing the life a boy from age 6 to age 18, when he graduates from high school and begins college. The main draw for this film is the rather novel approach of the director, Richard Linklater, to film it over a period of a dozen years with the same actors, beginning in 2002, thus the characters age naturally. In almost all other films, if there are child characters who later age to adulthood in the film, two or more sets of actors have to be employed, while any adult actors who are supposed to age during the course of the film are simply made up to look older. I like this technique in this movie even though it risks the film being somewhat disjointed.

Boyhood is well-acted and well-made. I also enjoyed the Texas locations.

The only objections I have to it are too many obscenities spouted by the actors--not everybody uses the "f" word in casual conversation--and that the film was at least 45 minutes too long.

VERY few films should ever run much over two hours in length. At that point, as a filmmaker, you should shit or get off the pot, to use a casual obscenity. Unless the film is Gone With the Wind or a handful of other epics, don't do it.

In the old days of film, back in the 1930s and 1940s, most feature films ran about 90 minutes in length, give or take. That was to enable theater owners to run double features. Furthermore, within the shorter length, the films were paced much faster than they are today. A college instructor I had for a film class called it the "meter" of the film. Even and especially GWTW moved very quickly so that people stayed with it until the end of the nearly four-hour film. The pacing of motion pictures 70 or 80 years ago is yet another reason I think they were better overall than the films of today.

As for Boyhood, I give it three-and-a-half stars out of five.

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