On ‘Boyhood’ and My Boy

I knew from the moment I read about Richard Linklater‘s latest film, Boyhood, that I had to watch it on the big screen. I was intrigued by the fact that he made the film with the same people over a 12-year span, and I couldn’t wait to see it. One of the reviews said it was a movie composed of universal childhood moments and emotions, moments and emotions recognizable to anyone in the world who’d experienced childhood. Hey, that’s me! I’m a former child.

boyhood movie poster 3

Yesterday as Zebu, Zippy, and I walked into the theater, I was prepared for what I was about to see. Or so I thought. In reality, I’d overlooked some pertinent facts:

  • ‘Boyhood’ isn’t only a story of childhood and growing up, but also what it means to be a parent.
  • Filming began in 2002, when the main character, played by Ellar Coltrane, was seven. In 2002, my son Zebu was six.
  • The movie ends with the main character arriving at his college dorm.
  • In two days, Zippy, Zebu, and I begin our drive to Zebu’s college where he will move into a dorm.
  • In five days, Zippy and I will fly home to our “empty nest.”

No, I didn’t bawl throughout the movie. Yes, I did tear up near the end with Zebu sitting between his father and me. Mostly, I was gobsmacked by how it felt as if our lives were playing out on the big screen. And that’s where those universal moments and emotions come into play. Because while our family dynamics have not followed anything like the film family’s trajectory, it all rang true because every single one of us on this planet is either a child or a former child. And if you’ve had parents and/or are a parent yourself, the film conjures up an additional whammy of recognition.

I’m grateful to ‘Boyhood’ for capturing the moments my family experienced over the past twelve years. While the faces and haircuts aren’t exactly the same, the feelings are spot-on.

Ellar Coltrane as Mason Evans, Jr.

Ellar Coltrane as Mason Evans, Jr.


4 thoughts on “On ‘Boyhood’ and My Boy

    • I don’t think it would send you into a tailspin about D leaving home because I wasn’t even thinking that way when I walked in, and then, WHAM. In my case, because it was coming in two days. You wouldn’t be in the same head space at all.


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