‘Boyhood’ tells story in fresh, new way

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) reconnects with his dad (Ethan Hawke) in “Boyhood.” Written and directed by Richard Linklater, the movie was filmed over a 12-year period. (Matt Lankes/IFC Film)

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) reconnects with his dad (Ethan Hawke) in “Boyhood.” Written and directed by Richard Linklater, the movie was filmed over a 12-year period. (Matt Lankes/IFC Film)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

In my world, the hype for “Boyhood” has been deafening, though I understand some people might not have heard of it.

I was immediately intrigued when I got word of a movie that was filmed over the course of 12 years. I watched an online discussion with stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke until I realized, hey, I don’t need any spoilers.

So I was pumped when “Boyhood” came to Tupelo, but I was bothered a little bit, too. Could the movie live up to the expectations?

Ellar Coltrane is the star. He plays Mason from about age 7 until 19, and part of the fun of the movie is looking at the clues to determine when time passes from one year to the next.

Hair helps. Sometimes it’s longer or shorter, and sometimes Mason’s mom (Arquette) and sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) are the ones with the changing tresses.

But I don’t mean to oversell the hair thing because “Boyhood” is an amazing piece of storytelling, and each scene is compelling, even when it’s just Mason and Samantha spending quiet time with their often absent father (Hawke).

More important than the physical changes are the changes to the characters’ lives.

Mom tries and tries to find stability, but it doesn’t always work out for her or her kids.

Dad’s wild days seem to get further and further behind him as the movie progresses.

Mason and his sister start out as relative innocents, and slowly grow into young adults who manage to be neither cynics nor optimists.

“Boyhood” was conceived by writer and director Richard Linklater, who gave us “Dazed and Confused,” “Bernie” and “School of Rock.”

This guy has an amazingly subtle understanding of how to tell a story. There are dramatic moments in “Boyhood” and they demand the audience’s attention, but no more so than the sweet times or the ordinary times.

Allow me to be crass and say I had to use the restroom for half of the movie, which runs 164 minutes. I suffered in my seat because I didn’t want to miss anything, and I feel oddly rewarded for that suffering because, really, there was nothing I didn’t want to see.

I don’t know you. Even so, there are movies that I would have no problem recommending to you. “Guardians of the Galaxy” would be one. It’s good, summertime fun.

But “Boyhood” is special. You have to self-select for it, and I can see how the underage drug and alcohol use would set off warning signals for some.

This is the kind of thing cinema fans are going to watch simply because it’s a fresh and new way of telling a story on the big screen.

I’d argue there’s also plenty for people who simply like good movies.

If you want to go, better hurry. There’s no telling how long it’ll be at the theater.

I give “Boyhood” an A plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo and Oxford.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.