Anita Casey-Reed
 
 
    
 
(Left to right) Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke appear in a scene from "Boyhood." (AP Photo/IFC Films)
 
 

Director Richard Linklater may have titled his 2014 film "Boyhood," but the film speaks as much to the craziness and magic of being a parent as it does to the experience of childhood. Part of this is due to Linklater and his continued exploration of what it means to be a part of the world at different ages and stages of life (check out "Dazed and Confused" or his trilogy that begins with "Before Sunrise," if you haven't already), but it's really fleshed out by the Oscar-winning performance of Patricia Arquette and the Oscar-nominated performance of Ethan Hawke as the mom and dad of young Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater).

You may have already heard the story behind the movie's production -- beginning in 2002, when Coltrane was 7 years old, the crew would gather and film for a few days. A year later they would all come back and shoot some more, repeating this annually until 2013. The result is a portrait of Mason's journey from kindergarten until the first day of college, capturing sibling arguments, school drama and parental figures who come and go. All the while a boy is growing, observing and wondering about his place in life.

His mother is first seen struggling as a single parent, turning down dates because she has responsibilities other people don't understand. She packs up the kids and moves in order to return to school. Eventually, their musician father comes back from "clearing his head" in Alaska and begins to rebuild a tentative relationship with his son and daughter through trips to the bowling alley and overnights at his apartment (the kind of place where curtains serve as doors, and he has to remind his roommate to take the bong off the table when the kids are there). On that note, the film is rated R for language and drug and alcohol use, but none of it is gratuitous -- it's all within the context of growing up and appropriate for older teens to watch.

I could fill pages raving about how the film finds beauty in all of the "caught" moments of life, or how I started laughing in recognition when the mother complained that she spent half of her life accumulating things and the other half figuring out how to get rid of all of the junk, but it doesn't come close to expressing how I felt at the end of the movie. The Japanese have a phrase called "mono no aware," which is about being happy and sad simultaneously, especially in regard to something beautiful you know is fleeting. That's what I felt. But the great thing about "Boyhood" is that it's the kind of art a person can revisit, and the film acquires a new layer of meaning with each viewing. I'm envious of all the people who will be able to see this movie for the first time at age 20 and then again and again as they go through different decades of life.



 
Anita Casey-Reed is a member of the Cinema 100 Film Society, a volunteer for the Dakota Digital Film Festival and co-host of "Reel Retro" on Dakota Media Access. She lives in Bismarck with her husband and two children.