Richard Linklater may be one of my favorite directors. Along with Agnes Varda and Alain Resnais, Linklater’s work almost always deeply inspires me, and his latest colossus, “Boyhood” is no exception. The film ended just twenty minutes ago and I am still under its spell. Going into it I was not sure what to expect. Reviews I had read earlier this week reported that its method, using the same actors to film one movie over the course of over a decade, was the only thing special about it. But after seeing it, I would have to disagree. Watching this family age, especially considering that I am of the same generation as the protagonist, is unsettling. I feel like I just relived my childhood. The pop culture references to the political debates to the self actualization were all so incredibly on point. That a film about an entirely other group of people living in Texas could make me feel so in touch with my past self, my inner child…well I’ve never experienced it before. Sure, I’ve related to characters in cinema before on an emotional level. But this was so much more. It’s as if Mason and his sister Samantha are performing a life parallel to the life I have experienced, and honestly a life that I don’t even visit that often in my memory. At every stage, the historical moment and the adolescent step are entirely in sync with my own history.
I’m dazed, and frankly, in awe. It’s as if my whole identity and upbringing were reflected back at me in the past few hours. Linklater has achieved through a film what I previously thought only possible through meditation or Ingmar Bergman: a feeling of complete unity with the world around me and that what goes on inside my head is not at all separate from what happens in yours.
So go see it already! And tell me what you think in the comments!