Glib reviews Of recent DVD Releases
- Directed by Richard Linklater
(Always- Spoilers - it’s a review!)
Now here’s a movie with a lot of hype. Some of it is deserved. The gimmick of the film doesn’t spoil the picture, but rather entices you to be interested. Linklater and all his actors met once a year for 12 years and filmed a part of the story. This gave them a lot of time to get the story right, or make the story seem as innovative as the technique of filming.
Definitely the most interesting parts of the film are in the visual storytelling, the distinct sense you get of what its like to watch someone grow up. Some years, the only way you know it is a year later is that they mention the next grade, or the characters have moved. Kids grow in spurts, thus the next couple of years and boom it all seems in fast motion.
The first half of the film for my money should have been called Familyhood, or something slightly catchier. The main character (Mason) does not take up most of the screen time. If anything the slightly older sister (Samantha) is the most interesting of the kids in the film for the first hour and a half, then like in real life, the movie becomes all about the boy. And not that it’s not an interesting portrayal, and all, but I was left wanting. I felt that the interesting character of the sister got short shrift at least based on the first half of the film.... She had an arc that kind of fades out and she is a guest star in the second half.
The best thing about the movie though for me was not the kids’ stories, but rather the actors playing the parents. Patricia Arquette deserves all the hype, and Ethan Hawke as well. Their characters making both good and bad life choices that affect their kids pretty hard are played out very realistically. And are easier to empathize with than their whiny entitled kids, (Which I identify as having been one of, myself) because they acknowledge their failings or feelings thereof, like adults just might do if they are real grown ups.
Overall I quite liked the film, but was left wanting when the second half of the film turned out to be just like every other artistic young man getting his heart stomped on by dumb girls story you have ever read. The whole thing winds up on a nice moment of cornball dialogue. For me I think the film lacks some oomph it could have because of this drift of the story from the cliches of family life which it nails, to it the cliches of the typical artsy young man.
Criticisms aside I feel like it is worth viewing very much and that it is a film that merits discussion of these and other points that you might miss in a single viewing. I am looking forward to discussing the movie with folks who have been waiting for me to get around to it.
7.25 Angry alcoholic stepfathers who seemed nice at first outta 10