Boyhood is the new film by Richard Linklater that follows Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the ages of 6 to 18. From fighting with his mother to dealing with his absent father to first love, Boyhood captures the struggles and triumphs of Mason’s adolescence. The incredible thing about the film? Boyhood was filmed throughout the course of 12 years, allowing Coltrane and the other actors to age at the same rate as their characters. Montgomery and Hannah are here once again to discuss this surprisingly humble, yet epic project.
Hannah: What drew you to Boyhood?
Montgomery: Mostly the fact that they filmed for 12 years. Coltrane is our age now, but it’s crazy that he committed to the film at such a young age. While watching I just kept thinking that this cast had separate lives and they came together once a year to film these scenes. It’s amazing. What about you?
Montgomery: It was a wonderfully shot movie, I just personally thought it was way too long. They almost had too much footage that was not necessarily essential to the telling of the story, but it also felt intentional because there is so much randomness in life that doesn’t always add up to something larger.
Hannah: I just imagine how difficult it would be to cut 12 years into the length of a movie. And I love that Linklater included a lot of “not important” scenes. There wasn’t the stereotypical losing of Mason’s virginity or learning how to drive a car. In real life, so many of those moments really aren’t significant and what you remember are the smaller things.
Montgomery: Sometimes I feel insecure because I don’t get those hidden meanings, “the deep stuff,” but I feel like with this film I was picking up one those smaller moments.
Hannah: How did you relate to the film? I had a really weird experience because, *SPOILER*, it ends with Mason going away to college. I went away to college last summer, so I related to it in a different way as someone who has already gone away to college for a year.
Montgomery: I didn’t really relate to Mason. We are very different people. I usually find characters in movies and shows to be relatable and Boyhood was so honest and focused that I couldn’t really take anything out of it that applies to my life. Mason coasts through his life and that’s fine, but it’s not me in the slightest. Another contrast between our lives was the reoccurring pressure to “be a man” and the enforcement of traditionally masculinity.
Hannah: Yes! That is such a big part of “boyhood.” One of my favorite scenes was after Mason graduates from high school and goes to a concert with his dad. They have the “girl talk,” but when his dad asks if he wants a beer he says he wants water. I feel that’s such a stereotype, sharing a beer with dad, but he goes against the norm.
Montgomery: I loved in the beginning when he went bowling with his dad and his dad was pressuring him to be “a man,” when he was only 8 because he wanted to bowl with bumpers.
Hannah: I think a lot of it too was showing his incompetency as a father because he was so out of the picture.
Montgomery: Yes, but it was interesting because every father figure he had said something related to being a man, including both step-fathers as well as his father. Linklater succeeded in making me, a cis gendered female, truly feel like a young boy growing up constantly being told to “man up.” It’s really different than what I have experienced in real life and that is,” be more quiet and ladylike”, “you have too many opinions”, or “you’re too bossy”.
Hannah: I think it also highlights how great of a mom Mason’s mother is. I heard someone say it should have been called Motherhood because Patricia Arquette’s character was so incredible. She was just trying to keep the family together and sure she didn’t make good choices in men, but I think she really was a fantastic mother.
Montgomery: She wanted a husband understandably and a father figure for her children and she got these losers.
Hannah: So, on a lighter note, let’s talk about the fashion and music throughout the film and how it set the scene throughout Mason’s boyhood.
Montgomery: Music can take us back to a feeling, decade, moment, etc. Since I am about the same age as Mason, the music they used really resonated with me because it was also the music of my childhood.
Hannah: Linklater is really brilliant at setting the scene with music, but I think he went above and beyond with Boyhood. Did you have a favorite music throwback in the film?
Hannah: Soo Magic or Tragic? Final decision?
Montgomery: Magic!! I promise I won’t say everything is Magic, but this was revolutionary in my opinion! What about you? Magic or Tragic?!
Hannah: Haha totally magic. Probably my favorite film of the year.