Boyhood (PG) ***

photo 3

Time Travel !

Summer is usually the time when Hollywood pulls out all the stops to deliver blockbuster entertainment designed to appeal to the masses. Comedies, super heroes and action flicks are in vogue. Adults seeking out quality dramas are often left to fend for themselves in a dwindling market for smart films. Sure to reverse this unfortunate trend is Mongrel Media’s release of Boyhood. Bountiful stellar performances from one and all make this film one if the best of the year. Check out this sure to be Oscar contender at Vancouver’s venerable Fifth Avenue Theatre and International Village Cinemas.

Like actors certain directors have a loyal fan base. Over a 12 year period director Richard Linklater shot this masterpiece using the same actors. The results are a scintillating drama charting the growth of two children.

Ups and downs are com on to every family and the plight of Mason and Samantha are a case in point. Early on we see the development of this pair as they mature through our eyes. Pain and laughter go hand in hand as their single mom and birth dad have their own issues to contend with. Strong as an ox is the work of Patricia Aquette who shows all the signs if frustration as a mom trying to cope while wayward dad Ethan Hawke turns out to be more of a free spirit when it comes to child rearing and owning up to his responsibilies.

Two sets of actors play these troubled youth and the writers have come up with a story that truly resonates. Honesty, heartache, setbacks and achievements track Mason and Samantha who are marvellously portrayed by Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater.

Smart insertion of historic and cultural events helps round out the time frame lending a nice sense of relevance to the story which at 166 minutes may seem a few minutes long. Never mind the length and settle in for an eventful journey as we go on an unbelievable tale of one family whose friends, relatives and associates will grow on you and linger.

By Robert Waldman