Richard Linklater's film, Boyhood, might be the most original concept you'll encounter in independent film for many years to come.
While many are raving about the extended film time of 12 years, I really found the timeline of culture in the film most intriguing.
As a child of the mid 90's-00's, this film reached out to me in a different way than many others who might not be my age might have.
I was able to almost pinpoint the exact years that each step of the film featured. The use of pop culture to reference the time passing included toys, music, and even the more obvious political references.
The culture references not only helped to pinpoint the exact moments in history that the film was taking place, but they helped to develop the characters into what they would be 12 years after the start. It's an unusual concept to see a character develop through society's pressures and culture, but it somehow worked in Boyhood.
On a more personal level, the film seemed to have a greater impact on me, who is someone who somewhat shares the timeline of growing up with the main character. Although a few years off, being a little older than the actual character benefited me in a way so that I was able to pinpoint each timeline reference. Throughout the film, I had overwhelming feelings of nostalgia, which may or may not have been a goal of the director pointed at a portion of his audience.
The film can be interpreted over and over by critics about the concepts and what exactly Linklater's message was, but I think the beauty of the film is the way each individual viewing it feels through each stage that the film provides. I think the director's purpose was let people evaluate their own development in real life while the 12 years was progressing.
In an interview I found with the star of the film, Ellar Coltrane, something the writer of the article struck me as a near-perfect description of the film.
"Any stretch of our lives, even the entirety of it up to this moment, has
a tendency to become a kind of flash of moments that we make sense of, a
series of incidents given a name for ease of reference. It helps define
us even as we define them."
I could not have said it better. This film is completely a work that makes you self-evaluate your own incidents and experiences in life that make up yourself as a whole. I believe that what we are just a large cluster of what we have experienced and how we have handled those experiences. As we look back at time stamps in our lives, we can see the making of ourselves within them.
Here's the interview I found, where Coltrane talks about how foreign it feels to finally have finished the project, and how it has affected him in his life as a real-life, experience-having person.
Also, can we all take a moment to appreciate that Soulja Boy was referenced in the film? I didn't know whether to cringe or dance in my seat...