Boyhood (2014)
IFC Films
R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use.
Running time: 162 minutes.
★★★★
“Boyhood” is a moving and experimental masterpiece. 
The director, Richard Linklater shot “Boyhood” over 12 years, reuniting the cast every year for a few days to film. Set in Texas, the audience witnesses not only a boy age, but also an entire family transform. 
We see Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) age from a first grader to a college freshman. Over these years Mason must face challenges such as moving, living in a broken home, going to new schools, being heart-broken, and peer pressure. Progressing seamlessly, we begin to become invested in Mason’s life. The subtle details of the setting and conversations fully immerse the audience into this family and ultimately attaches us. Much of the connection derives from Linklater’s lack of judgment. Both Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke characters have flaws; however, we are made curious about their intentions. Olivia (Arquette), a divorced, single mom, does her best to raise Mason and his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, Linklater’s daughter). While on the other hand there is Mason Sr. (Hawke), who is the cool dad who comes into down with his vintage car taking the kids to baseball games and bowling alleys. He knows he is not the most reliable father but he truly makes a heartfelt attempt to be apart of his children’s lives.
 “Boyhood” does not have a narrative where one can exactly say what happens in this film. It is about the collective impact of the moments that we see. Linklater’s scripts and directing style accentuate naturalism. The authenticity of the character’s conversations and actions seem efforts. Similarly, in Linklater’s “Before” films, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply,  there is a natural way the characters expose minor details of their lives which collectively gives the character identity.
As a whole, this project was incredibly risky, maintaining funding, inspiration, and keeping the same cast throughout the entire shoot. Personally, my girlhood is aligned with the time of this film. The progression from the handheld game of 20 Questions to texting intertwined with Oregon Trail and other video games takes the audience down memory lane. In addition, Linklater integrates music of the time including: Britney Spears, “High School Musical” and Arcade Fire. These little details are effective and Linklater’s capturing them is impressive for the fact that he realized what would be significant and resonate with us in 12 years. 
There is no way to explain the looming idea of death in this film unless you have seen it. Throughout the film there are moments where you will just cringe and cover your eyes because you get the sense that something bad will happen. That personally made me reflect on my life, there are moments in our innocence where we are carefree and don’t see the danger around us because we are young and invincible. “Boyhood” captures the idea that life is precious and we don’t understand how we are risking it.  But I guess taking risks is essential in our childhood and adult hood.
I first saw this film at The Sundance Film Festival and finally saw it a second this summer. I am moved as a film lover and person in general. By the end of the three hours you’ll be connected to each of the character, which are acted so incredibly, that you will not want this film to end.

Boyhood (2014)

IFC Films

R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use.

Running time: 162 minutes.

★★★★

“Boyhood” is a moving and experimental masterpiece.

The director, Richard Linklater shot “Boyhood” over 12 years, reuniting the cast every year for a few days to film. Set in Texas, the audience witnesses not only a boy age, but also an entire family transform.

We see Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) age from a first grader to a college freshman. Over these years Mason must face challenges such as moving, living in a broken home, going to new schools, being heart-broken, and peer pressure. Progressing seamlessly, we begin to become invested in Mason’s life. The subtle details of the setting and conversations fully immerse the audience into this family and ultimately attaches us. Much of the connection derives from Linklater’s lack of judgment. Both Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke characters have flaws; however, we are made curious about their intentions. Olivia (Arquette), a divorced, single mom, does her best to raise Mason and his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, Linklater’s daughter). While on the other hand there is Mason Sr. (Hawke), who is the cool dad who comes into down with his vintage car taking the kids to baseball games and bowling alleys. He knows he is not the most reliable father but he truly makes a heartfelt attempt to be apart of his children’s lives.

 “Boyhood” does not have a narrative where one can exactly say what happens in this film. It is about the collective impact of the moments that we see. Linklater’s scripts and directing style accentuate naturalism. The authenticity of the character’s conversations and actions seem efforts. Similarly, in Linklater’s “Before” films, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply,  there is a natural way the characters expose minor details of their lives which collectively gives the character identity.

As a whole, this project was incredibly risky, maintaining funding, inspiration, and keeping the same cast throughout the entire shoot. Personally, my girlhood is aligned with the time of this film. The progression from the handheld game of 20 Questions to texting intertwined with Oregon Trail and other video games takes the audience down memory lane. In addition, Linklater integrates music of the time including: Britney Spears, “High School Musical” and Arcade Fire. These little details are effective and Linklater’s capturing them is impressive for the fact that he realized what would be significant and resonate with us in 12 years. 

There is no way to explain the looming idea of death in this film unless you have seen it. Throughout the film there are moments where you will just cringe and cover your eyes because you get the sense that something bad will happen. That personally made me reflect on my life, there are moments in our innocence where we are carefree and don’t see the danger around us because we are young and invincible. “Boyhood” captures the idea that life is precious and we don’t understand how we are risking it.  But I guess taking risks is essential in our childhood and adult hood.

I first saw this film at The Sundance Film Festival and finally saw it a second this summer. I am moved as a film lover and person in general. By the end of the three hours you’ll be connected to each of the character, which are acted so incredibly, that you will not want this film to end.

What If (2014)
CBS Films
PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language.
Running time: 98 minutes.
★★ 1/2
"What If" is this summer’s quirky and adorable love story. Similar to that of "500 Days of Summer", the boy falls is love with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and drama ensues when he tries to escape the unfortunate friend zone. 
Adapted from T.J. Dawe’s play “Toothpaste and Cigars”, screenwriter Elan Mastai hits all of the notes one would expect in a romantic comedy. A recent Med-school drop out, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), is heartbroken over being cheated on by his former girlfriend. In attempt to move on he goes to his college roommate, Allan’s (Adam Driver) house party. While aligning magnet words into cynical phrases on the refrigerator he meets, Chantry (Zoe Kazan), a doe-eyed animator. They have a realistic conversation consisting of both small talk and anecdotes. As they walk home together, Chantry drops the bomb that see has a live in boyfriend of five years (Rafe Spall). They agree upon a friendship and return to their respective houses. The pair runs into one another after both had just gone to a showing of “The Princess Bride” alone. They decide to grab a bite to eat and bond over their fascination with Elvis’s death as well as his favorite snack called, Fool’s Gold. 
They grow closer as time goes on and it becomes clear how compatible they are. Wallace’s friend and Chantry’s cousin, Allen tries to get to the bottom of their friendship. Wallace’s reasoning for not making a move makes sense, if a relationship starts dirty it ends dirty. Chantry on the other hand does not want to be the jerk to end a relationship. 
Radcliffe and Kazan are delightful together; however, they are almost too much alike. As a rom-com it is adorable to imagine them together but realistically Chantry and her longterm boyfriend makes sense. Oddly enough the writers didn’t make her boyfriend a dick, he reacted to all he was faced with fairly. 
One aspect of “What If” which made it an unorthodox rom-com was the director, Michael Dowse’s integration of Chantry’s animations. As a fairy like character she flies about Toronto’s sky, serving as an inside look into Chantry’s thoughts. 
Overall it was cute and entertaining. Kazan and Radcliffe were perfectly casted as pragmatic characters. The only issue I had with this film was the other couple in the film, Allan and Nicole (Mackenzie Davis). They were over the top, grotesque, and ultimately overstep their boundaries with Chantry and Wallace. 
If it was on Netflix- I would say go for it, maybe not worth the $10 at the theatre. 

What If (2014)

CBS Films

PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language.

Running time: 98 minutes.

★★ 1/2

"What If" is this summer’s quirky and adorable love story. Similar to that of "500 Days of Summer", the boy falls is love with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and drama ensues when he tries to escape the unfortunate friend zone. 

Adapted from T.J. Dawe’s play “Toothpaste and Cigars”, screenwriter Elan Mastai hits all of the notes one would expect in a romantic comedy. A recent Med-school drop out, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), is heartbroken over being cheated on by his former girlfriend. In attempt to move on he goes to his college roommate, Allan’s (Adam Driver) house party. While aligning magnet words into cynical phrases on the refrigerator he meets, Chantry (Zoe Kazan), a doe-eyed animator. They have a realistic conversation consisting of both small talk and anecdotes. As they walk home together, Chantry drops the bomb that see has a live in boyfriend of five years (Rafe Spall). They agree upon a friendship and return to their respective houses. The pair runs into one another after both had just gone to a showing of “The Princess Bride” alone. They decide to grab a bite to eat and bond over their fascination with Elvis’s death as well as his favorite snack called, Fool’s Gold. 

They grow closer as time goes on and it becomes clear how compatible they are. Wallace’s friend and Chantry’s cousin, Allen tries to get to the bottom of their friendship. Wallace’s reasoning for not making a move makes sense, if a relationship starts dirty it ends dirty. Chantry on the other hand does not want to be the jerk to end a relationship. 

Radcliffe and Kazan are delightful together; however, they are almost too much alike. As a rom-com it is adorable to imagine them together but realistically Chantry and her longterm boyfriend makes sense. Oddly enough the writers didn’t make her boyfriend a dick, he reacted to all he was faced with fairly. 

One aspect of “What If” which made it an unorthodox rom-com was the director, Michael Dowse’s integration of Chantry’s animations. As a fairy like character she flies about Toronto’s sky, serving as an inside look into Chantry’s thoughts. 

Overall it was cute and entertaining. Kazan and Radcliffe were perfectly casted as pragmatic characters. The only issue I had with this film was the other couple in the film, Allan and Nicole (Mackenzie Davis). They were over the top, grotesque, and ultimately overstep their boundaries with Chantry and Wallace. 

If it was on Netflix- I would say go for it, maybe not worth the $10 at the theatre.