[Review] RIchard Linklater’s Boyhood and us, the Millennial.

Afif Muttaqien

Linklater did it again. After the trilogy of Before (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) and a high school masterpiece that influence many of Generation Y to redefine of cool term, Dazed and Confused, Linklater crafted his specialization in nostalgic movie. A movie that would bring you into contemplation just after the credit roll ends. Everybody around my age, or my generation, could relate their life to Boyhood in every frame of the movie scene. From early minutes when Mason and their friends trying spray can for the first time because it is so fun doodling with another tool than crayon until he start his college year and meet the psychedelic friends who like to go somewhere quiet and contemplate.

The talks and the routines, pretty much portray a type of person in my generation who still pay attention to ideal and philosophic life. A film that took years to create has become a huge hit among the millennial, and from that aspect alone could make twenty-year-old feel the present time of their own childhood.

There are no excess romance for the drama, no explosion and tons of bullet shells for action. Only flying rum bottle and the dialog which represent the movie reality that create a conflict part within the movie. Basically, the movie is just a compile of normal scene of our life to represent question from us, the millennial, whoever desperately wonder “What am I doing here? What’s the point of life at all?” Boyhood is a reflection of our phase of life in 164 minutes rolling scene with abstract script that have not write for 12 years of production. As a result, we can see the characters that develop naturally by the process of movie itself. Think of some documentation of insect evolution in animal planet but this time is human with all life conflict that may occur around us.

The film also embraces the year-by-year pop culture that, especially for a Generation Y kid, makes it even more relatable. What makes the movie more interesting is the fact that Every soundtrack in the film is chosen based on what’s hits on each year like “Yellow” by Coldplay played in the early scene which the footage of the scene took year in 2002 when the track was on the top of the radio chart in the U.S that time. This is the first movie I could say the story feel so alive and near. I could feel me and this movie share the same playlist because there are others songs that I grow up with is include and played in the movie as the soundtracks like “1901” by Phoenix, “Helena Beat” by Foster the People and maybe there are other songs that I didn’t listen to but you guys did. You feel me?

It is so interesting how the film is composed of events that construct the theme of growing up, rather than a plot. There is a beginning, but not an exposition; a middle, but not a climax; an end, but not a conclusion. We will watching a life as it happens, a tale of the human condition that we relate to with all sorts of nostalgia so Mason Jr. and his family have grown into a bond that’s so close, it’s more than simply touching. I don’t know whether it is the post-production works or they had planned it from the start but for many times I can say every scene has nostalgic moment that magically, in current generation may not experience the same thing. For example, after-dinner cartoon on TV.

Speak on the behalf of my generation, I would say technology has influenced our perspective about how we see the world and the way we living in it until Mason Jr. questioning “Why we are all so hooked on virtual interactions?” but fortunately, we still had a chance to experiencing a real playground when we were kids with all the scars on the knee. We are taking part when dial-up internet connection is the only way to connect with thousands of people through email and somehow that is what makes us longing for real connection between individuals rather than digitize it.

After all, I could say Boyhood could makes us realize what change the millenial is facing for the last one and what can we do for facing it. We have to learn the fact that for every confusion and question about life, we can only accept it and for the end this contemplation about my generation, I’d like to quote what Chuck Palahniuk wrote about it in Fight Club that we had no great war.

“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”


-Jock Gilchrist – Boyhood’s Answer to the Existential Confusion of the Millennial Generation


-Matt Zoller Seits Boyhood’s Review on rogerebert.com (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boyhood-2014)

Word count: 840

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