Thursday, July 24, 2014

'Reel' Life on the Big Screen

Through the greens of Hyde Park, past the royal palace of Prince William and Kate, and on to Gate Theatre to screen the film Boyhood by Richard Linklater. This film is nothing more of a story about a boy growing up. Why, might you ask, should you spend 3 hours of your day sitting inside a theatre on a beautiful sunny day?  The answer’s simple: You have not seen a movie quite like this. The magic in this film does not lie in the plot; it lies in the evolution of the characters in a span of twelve years. It specifically follows the life of the main character Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane). It is unlike any other movie where words on the screen would say that [blank] years have passed and the character ages with a blink of an eye. Usually, an older actor replaces the young actor to portray an older version of the character in the film. That’s what separates Boyhood from any other film out there.  
           Moments before the film started, the commercials played as they do for any other film. One that caught my attention was an ad for a deodorant with the catchphrase “don’t rely on fate.” Although it is a deodorant commercial and has nothing to do with Boyhood (or maybe it does), I thought that it was ironically placed right before a movie that contradicts that phrase. From an  interview with Linklater on picking Coltrane as the main character, he mentioned how crucial the decision was because “he had to guess what he'd be like when he was 18.” So in a way, fate plays a role in the production of this film. He had to take into account that the actors will grow and change will be inevitable. Instead of controlling every detail about the actors, he had let nature take its course and wrote around that.
            What I loved about this movie was its authenticity. Every time there was a visible change in the actor’s age, it took me back to a specific time in my life. I used the technology as one of the markers to tell when a certain year had passed. The electronics used evolved along with the actors. For example, the first electronic device that the movie displayed was a small television. Seeing that brought me back to the time in my life when that device was relevant. Then, it was a Gameboy to show Mason growing up and moving on to a different school. The types of clothing and the music were also very nostalgic. Those details amazed me because they weren’t just props that helped set the scene for the appropriate time period; they were real. The real beauty of it is that there was no need for an overly dramatic plot to get people to talk about it.
            It’s crazy to think that when I was just an 8-year-old, this movie was already in the process of filming. Maybe there is already a sequel in progress that we’ll be seeing on the big screen in another 12 years. What do you think you’ll be doing by then?

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