Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Boyhood--A Great Movie

"If you feel as if your life is somewhere out there as opposed to right here, stop and ask yourself:
  • What is missing in my life?
  • What have I put on hold?
  • What am I waiting for?
  • What would really fill my heart and make me happy?
  • What would I regret if I died tomorrow?"    --Charlotte Davis Kasi, Five Questions

Once in a while I see a movie that I want to tell everybody about. “Boyhood” just hit the theatres weeks ago. It took twelve years to make this movie. Twelve years, I thought. It is the story of one family’s struggle to make it in life. The Director uses the same actors for all twelve years at different stages in their lives. It begins with a little boy, Mason Junior, lying on the grass looking up. He is five years old. The film follows the boy and his family all the way to college.

Why has this movie struck a chord with so many people? Because this film deals with the subject we all know something about: the passage of life, the relationships of our lives, our hopes and dreams and the disappointments of our days.

Mason’s parents are divorced like about 50% of the marriages today. His single mother is struggling to bring Mason and his sister into some kind of secure setting. Mason’s father follows the family through his ex-wife’s constant moves and changes in their lives. He like his divorced wife, cares deeply for his kids and also tries to let them know they are loved and appreciated although he is only a weekend father.

The single mom is struggling to finish her college degree while juggling all her family responsibilities. She hopes to become a teacher. We see her trying marriage after marriage with men that are just losers emotionally. Like a mother hen, she leaves these abusive men and tries to protect her two children from the stormy relationships these men bring with them.

We follow Mason and his sister through the struggles of each stage of their lives. So we can all resonate with the terrors of the early school years, the hardships of simply trying to grow up and find your place. Mason has a creative streak which most of the teachers and adults in the film try to stifle—calling his creativity just a hobby and a nice way to keep him busy. But—they say—if you want to get ahead in the world you’ve got to take practical courses, subjects that can help you make some money and be a success. The big word the adults keep preaching to the kids is: You must be responsible and practical.

The single mother comes off as some kind of a hero for keeping her kids together and safe. She is emotionally present for them and the thread that runs through their lives. The father who keeps them just some of the time loves them and tries to be a good father though he is not there all the time.

But men as a whole come off looking lousy in this film. Mean, cruel, abusive—drinking too much—caring little about anyone but themselves. Many people who see this film will nod again and again and these poor role models and father-substitutes.

The film is long—over two and a half hours. Yet I forgot the time and was deeply engaged in the life of Mason Junior and his family. This is a realistic film but a hopeful film about life and family and struggle and hope.

Most movies today ignore the fundamental issues of our lives. Nobody gets blown up, not a ghost or murderers in the film, there are no vampires. Foul language is at a minimum. This is a story about struggling, growing up, and finding the way. I recommend this film because it really is a mirror of so much of the saga of life where we might just see ourselves. I recommend this movie because it do for you what it did for me: lifted me up, brought back memories of some of my own growing-up days. Once again I saw the faces of some of the people who have shaped my life. These two and a half hours praises the human season—and that’s why I say: see it.

                                           --RogerLovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com

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