The new Richard Linklater movie is now at the Esquire Theatre. Boyhood has been getting press for a long time because Linklater used the same actors through a 12-year period for this story of a boy growing up. That strategy is more than a gimmick, and the movie is more than an interesting experiment; quite simply, the risk paid off. The main character, Mason, is likeable and believable. The movie feels like real life, and it really exposes what it the world is like in a child’s eyes. So what’s it like? Well, it’s uncomfortable. The trouble for children is that they’re surrounded by adults who see themselves as pillars of wisdom when actually they’re often kind of screwy. The children see this, but they can’t do much about it; much of their strategy is just finding a way to lay low.
There are some likable adults in the film, however. One is Mason’s mother, played brilliantly by Patricia Arquette. Abandoned by Mason’s biological father, she then marries and divorces two men who make Mason Sr. seem stellar in comparison. And while Mason Sr. makes his fair share of mistakes, he comes across eventually as a good guy who succeeds admirably—not at first, perhaps, but in the long run—in showing Mason Jr. that he loves him.
It’s the kind of movie that make you darn glad that the Esquire is still around. You might take it for granted, but there was a time when its future was a question mark. This link tells you more about the Esquire, including a period in the 1980s when some people in the Clifton community pitched in and, against great odds, helped save this historical theatre: Esquire History