Monday, 28 July 2014

Boyhood and Boo-hood, a sort of review

So I went to the cinema this week and saw a really great film, Boyhood, made over 12 years, tracing the fictional story of one (very likeable) family.

By now everyone on the planet knows how great this film is, so I wont go on about it. It just made me want to say some things about time.

When I saw Boyhood I hadn't been to the cinema in over a year, that is how much my life and priorities have changed since Boo. Last time was at the Ritzy Big Scream, when Boo was tiny and would feed and sleep and sit happily for me to watch whatever I wanted.

I should have gone to the cinema more often in those days, although I don't regret the countless days spent breastfeeding and watching the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It provided escapism and joy at a time when time seemed relentless and monotony was taking over.

But even I couldn't watch Buffy all the time. In those days I would often just gaze out of the window. Not because I was bored. Sometimes you can just feel time pulling you, the moment you're in is so fleeting, there's nothing you can do except stop and stare. We meet the boy in Boyhood when he is staring out the window during school. His mum is worried about him, and he can't really explain to her why he does it.

Now, Boo is 18 months old. Everything is different again. And everything I watch comes with a large amount of patience, waiting for Netflix to add a film, then waiting for an evening or nap time when I don't have a gazillion more important things to do. This time I made the time to go to the cinema to see something that I felt would be time well spent.

I didn't read any reviews about Boyhood, mainly because I don't have the time. I am a sucker for stars though, being a Netflix addict, these days I will not watch anything without at least 4 stars. The stars on the movie poster, given by newspapers that are not red tops, and magazines that are not Grazia, are the deal breakers.

There is something to be said about maturity and the need for quality. Quite often quality is on someone else's terms, which we adopt as our own, maybe because we have spent too much time watching crappy films. The mother in Boyhood seeks out a rich husband who she thinks will complete her family and give them a better quality of life. When did she stop believing in the things she felt when she was younger, the things that drew her to the free-spirited father in the story, but who wasn't ready to play the provider.

Even though the film is called Boyhood, it's really just about growing up, getting older, whatever age or gender you are. I found myself intensely interested in his parents and their choices, they represent the universal worry and guilt and pride and love that parents have every day. I think that everyone who loves this film does so because they see themselves and their family reflected at them, and the stages of struggle and realisation that ebb and flow through all of us. The story and premise is simple, but the simplest ideas are often the most effective.

And it's a really long film. Not Titantic long, but almost. At the start I was reaching for the remote, freaking out that the volume was too loud and it would wake Boo. Oh yeah. But do it several more times until it sinks in. Then towards the end I was starting to get back pains from too much sitting. And I wanted to check my texts and make sure I wouldn't be late for dinner. I felt bad for shifting around so much, I knew it would be over soon and then I'd be sorry. Isn't it hard to just enjoy what you have, when there's all these other niggling things happening around you, distracting you, then poof it's all gone.

When the mum in Boyhood laments towards the end, when her son goes away to college, 'I thought there would be more', I thought of all the times that I felt annoyed at Boo or at moments in my day for being annoying in some way. Not quite right. Toys all over the place, every night putting them back just so they can be strewn across the floor again. Wasting my time. Doing laundry all the time. Wash hang fold repeat. And then before I know it I've given all of her toys away because she has outgrown them, and then she's not living here and the only clothes that I fold are my own.

So there, I went to see a film to escape the hum-drum of laundry cycles and I end up missing the cycles and the hum-drum because that's where life happens. In-between all the crap bits and confusing bits, painful bits and crazy bits.  They make you worry and want to find answers, but in the end, there isn't always a reason, a right thing to do, just an awareness of the moment. That is all.

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