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  • Thomas Ward

Boyhood


I saw BOYHOOD recently and was raving about it to my friend Wes Cunningham. He said that it was "meh" for him and he asked me why I liked it. I told him and he said I should "blog that shit." So here's what I said:

(spoiler alert: I talk specifically about things that happen in the film)

Hey Wes,

I've been trying to figure out why I liked Boyhood so much.

It's certainly all to do with the gimmick of it. Shooting over twelve years, watching a real kid grow up. After the little experience I've had seeing films get made, I found it amazing that they were able to do it logistically. But it was also the impact of watching his parents age as well as him grow up. I found it beautifully sad. The story itself is pretty simple. Typical. Nothing "big." It just did something to me that I wasn't expecting. When he's in the car headed to college I was just overcome with emotion. I don't know why. I was sad. I was sad that his boyhood was over. I was also happy that he was going to be okay. I was really struck by that... that he's okay. Everything ultimately was okay for everyone. All the anger and resentment and struggling... it all ends up okay.

I also loved how all through the story he's being evangelized to by every adult. Everyone is trying to educate him to their way of thinking or behaving. His dad with the bowling. His asshole stepfathers. The teacher in the dark room. His stepmom's parents with the Bible. And all of that stuff they're trying to instill in him is so meaningless when viewed over time like that. At least it was to me. It really made me relax as a father. Just love your kids. Protect them. If they are fed and clothed and not treating other people like shit... then just chill out about all the other stuff. They're going to be who they're going to be. I get so bent out of shape that my sons don't want to play sports, or they don't want to do this or that or whatever. So what? It doesn't matter. They're nice to other kids. They're nice to our dog. I don't care if they go to college or not. And I've heard and given that dumb speech the teacher gives him about "potential" and "talent." I'm never giving that speech to a student again. When seen in the context of a boy's whole childhood, it really is absurd. The movie reminded me of your song EVERYBODY WINS.

"And we're all gonna go

it doesn't matter who you know

And our bodies will decompose

and we'll help the flowers grow"

Nothing we come up with as humans (god, religion, recycling, Obamacare, art, science) can stop time. Time was the star of that film. I found it's approach to "time" or "timeline" as revolutionary as Pulp Fiction or some other more heady, impressive reference. So. Thats' all. Not trying to talk you into liking it. Just answering your question.

thomas

#boyhood #richardlinklater #film #indiefilm #writing #screenwriting #acting #time #parenting #kids