Boyhood @ The Ross

Mason (Ellar Coltraine)

Mason (Ellar Coltraine)

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood charts the days in the life of a family as they manage a kaleidosope of life’s daily dramas. In 2002, he cast Patricia Arquette as Mom, Ethan Hawke as Dad, Ellar Coltrane as Mason, and Lorelei Linklater as Samantha, and in 2013 completed the film with the same cast. That’s right. Mason, at 6 years old in 2002 along with his big sister Samantha grow up right before our very eyes in this award-winning film. Set in Houston, Texas, for 2 hours and 45 minutes we are taken on the usual suspects of all things family drama, outings, and rituals: camping trips and s’mores; birthdays; bullying; marriages and divorces—3 to be exact—domestic violence, adolescent angst to young adulthood, first loves, sibling rivalry, then college.

Mom (Patricia Arquette)

Mom (Patricia Arquette)

All characters are well-drawn, and Arquette and Hawke carefully handle their parts as they serve as the parental bookends to the story. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are the trappings of technology—cell phones, Gameboys, Gamecubes, The Wii, among others, and Linklater implements each as a skilled juggler in a park. By the time Mason has turned 18, Linklater has given the audience strong doses of dramatic elements of life that all of us have experienced. In other words, we can identify with each minute as the narrative unfolds.

Yes, Boyhood is pleasant!
It is appealing!
It is delightful! …

And these descriptions are what had me on edge the entire time.

Dad (Ethan Hawke) with Mason and Samantha (Lorelei Linklater)

Dad (Ethan Hawke) with Mason and Samantha (Lorelei Linklater)

Boyhood is Linklater’s utopian fantasy that suggest this is what life is like without multi-ethnic interactions and all of the attendant political conundrums. What’s the political term—oh—Boyhood is his vision of a post-racial community? This family, throughout the story, is sheltered from inter-racial interaction, except for a member of Mom’s social gathering, an African American woman who makes a play for an 18 year old Mason at his graduation party. Stereotype, yes, and we are not to notice it because it comes in the final moments of the film; and it is supposed to be … funny. But it is not.

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Boyhood plays through September 4 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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