BY CJ SMITH
Photo credit HERE
As Oscar season starts to get into full swing, let’s take a look at one of the major contenders for “Best Picture” this year. It is a film called, “Boyhood.” Written and directed by Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” is a first of its kind. The film follows the story of a young boy, played by Ellar Coltrane. Linklater chose to film the story over the course of twelve years, with the cast reconvening to film short scenes every year. This technique brings the characters to life as they age right before the viewer’s very eyes. As someone who recently experienced the birth of his first son, this film struck a lot of chords with me.
The main character Mason is the son of divorced parents. He and his older sister Samantha live with their mother, portrayed by Patricia Arquette, whom shares custody with their father, played by Ethan Hawke. As we watch Mason learn how to navigate his life in light of the decisions being made by the adults around him, we learn some things. As in Mason’s case, life can be hard when the decisions that we feel affect us the most are not ours to make. Instead, we are left with only the capacity to make decisions about how we will deal or cope with our situations and what we will in turn learn from them.
Rites of passage are also a major theme in this film. The fact that we all have to go through things in order to learn is not a new concept, but the way the film portrays these events in a boy’s life are quite realistic and relatable. They are messy and full of failing, but they can produce strong character. It reminds me of a quote I love from Oscar Wilde, “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes,” (from The Picture of Dorian Grey).
I was moved many times during my viewing of this film to recollect on my own boyhood, and to look into the future of my son’s. There will be times when all I want to do is save him from the perils I have seen and see in his way. (And sometimes I probably will). But, it also served as a good reminder to me, that sometimes we need to fall, bump our heads, be picked up by our father, and shown the right way. As all of us continue to fall at times, I find comfort in remembering we have a heavenly father who is ready to pick us up and show us the way as well.