Boyhood ★★★★

Discussed on the podcast. The initial viewing was engrossing yet partially baffling—like many Linklater films, it's about what he isn't doing more than what he is that makes the initial appeal, which I find frustrating in some ways. Thankfully, a second viewing made much of the earlier heavier material resonate more as Linklater's abilities to streamline narrative information subtly become more confident. It isn't just a boy who grows up here; it's about the shifting dynamics between Mason and the world he observes growing more didactic, making his escape as far away from his upbringing and then finally to the desert feel like an emotionally logic conclusion. This is not to say Linklater "approves" of anything — more than any other filmmaker (documentary or not), he has the keen ability to simply present things "as they are," leaving the viewer to really make their own conclusions.

Only two moments thus really ring false throughout—the already infamous waiter scene near the end, and the car driving moment with the drunk father. All things considered, the drunk father is necessary stuff, and the rise and fall of those moments are actually nicely calculated (the shock cutoff of "Soulja Boy" to Arquette on the ground, or going from the dinner scene to Will Ferrell's "Landlord" on Funny or Die). The moment he swerves a car onto incoming traffic however is the one moment that feels way too huge and silly compared to how the rest of the sequence feels designed.

Peter liked this review