This may initially appear to be a small, quiet movie about a boy growing up in Texas, but it also achieves something unique in film history. Director Richard Linklater cast six-year-old Ellar Coltrane as Mason, the son of divorced parents Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, and filmed the screen family over 12 years.
Linklater has experimented with this time-lapse technique before – in his three Before movies, which revisited the relationship between the characters played by Hawke and Julie Delpy over nine-year intervals – but Boyhood goes one step further, as we see this happening in a single film.
The characters physically change from scene to scene, with Mason starting out as a shy boy who gradually grows into an adult – we witness his limbs lengthening, his voice breaking and his facial hair sprouting. Likewise, his young screen parents and older sister (played by Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei) subtly age before our eyes. His mother studies psychology and falls in and out of love, while his slightly absent dad takes Mason through the childhood rites of passage – a baseball game, a camping trip and a midnight Harry Potter party.
The amazing thing is that nothing hugely dramatic happens, yet the very passage of time is deeply moving as we witness little but key moments in life, from arguments to first dates, only for them to recede quickly into the past. Thanks to a brilliant script and ensemble cast, we become totally immersed in the lives of all the characters – the astoundingly good Coltrane only moves centre stage towards the end as watch him become a man with his life in front of him. Boyhood captures something universally human by allowing us to experience the unfolding lives of its characters and, in the process, see our own lives reflected in them. Even at three hours long, it passes as quickly as life itself.
Review by Joe Gill
What are the odds that four people would decide to commit suicide by jumping off the same building on New Year’s Eve? That’s the premise of this comedy, based on a novel by Nick Hornby. The four are TV executive Pierce Brosnan, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as a depressive American, politician’s daughter Imogen Poots, and unhappy mum Toni Collette. When they meet on the roof, they form a pact to help each other, in the process creating a media frenzy and going on a life-affirming holiday to Spain. It may send you over the edge.
Tuck (Brian ̒Astro’Bradley), Alex (Teo Halm) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) receive signals on their mobile phones that lead them to a place in the desert. There they find Echo, a little alien robot who needs the children’s help to reassemble the key to his stranded space ship. Echo has the makings of being an E.T. for a new generation, but the alien isn’t likeable enough and the story isn’t compelling enough to make this a classic of its time.
This French movie, Diplomacy in English, is a compelling historical drama set in occupied Paris at the end of the Second World War. On the night of August 24, 1944, Hitler’s commander in Paris, General Von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) has orders to blow up Paris’s famed landmarks. It falls to Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling (Andre Dussollier) to try to convince him to spare the city and its people. The actors brought the roles to life for a hit play and, in their reasoned and occasionally heated debate, the screen adaptation is a triumph of great acting.
From Nikita to The Fifth Element and Joan of Arc, Luc Besson has made a name for himself as a director of Indie action and sci-fi blockbusters that star a beautiful, butt-kicking heroine. Here, he directs Scarlett Johansson as Lucy, who is duped into having a bag containing a revolutionary drug placed in her stomach during a trip to Taiwan. By the time she arrives at her destination, the bag has leaked the drug into her blood — and so begins her gradual transformation into a super being with unlimited mental powers. Morgan Freeman plays the scientist who developed the drug that allows Lucy to control matter and time itself. Implausible, yes, but also mind boggling – in a good way.