In 2002, Mason, a six year-old boy and his elder sister Samantha are raised by their single mother Olivia in Texas. Year 2005. Mason now lives in Houston with his family, stepfather, their two children.
Year 2008. The real father, Mason Sr. talks to Mason and a 'now with boyfriend' Samantha about contraception. Yes, that kind of talk will take a long way coming to India.Meanwhile Olivia escapes an abusive second marriage and files for divorce. Year 2012, Mason has already experienced drugs, alcohol, love and heartbreak. A budding photographer, at the crossroads of life as a teenager.
Boyhood's crux is not the much advertised byline '12 years in the making'. It is director Richard Linklater's latest ode to life's ordinariness, how it sometimes just quietly passes by, but for some upheavals, intermittent chaos and adventures while you are at it. A gentle ode to childhood, parenting and that strong tradition we call family.
Unlike Linklater's Before Trilogy (where I loved that nothing overtly plot-altering is happening), after a point you want things to get moving here. Scenes, like a drunken abusive father looks down at a cowering wife; an alcoholic taking his children on a dangerous, infuriated car ride, add necessary zing to an otherwise linear tale.
But Linklater's making his signature moments here. Among steady conversations, free flowing monologues, bad haircut, first girlfriend and a touching cathartic mother moment, Boyhood shines in what it reveals in passing, and not necessarily in dialogue. This is where it kept me riveted, throughout.
I wouldn't have thought more of Boyhood, but for its last bit of conversation and how it loops back to the entire film. The enigma of the final scene, that perfect last cut (applause for editor Sandra Adair); makes this little more than a one-time watch. There's more to its deceptive quietness. For light drama/coming of age movie fans, this is a treat.
If you end up loving Boyhood, don't miss Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995) and for dramatic contrast, the rock'n'roll infused, cute comedy School of Rock (2003).