I saw Richard Linklater's new film, BOYHOOD, a few weeks ago. I haven't written about it yet because I haven't figured out what to do with it all in my head.
It rocked my life.
Filmed over the course of twelve years, the story tracks the life of a boy names Mason as he traverses through his childhood and into young adulthood. Transitions between the years weren't marked by intrusive title cards, or big birthday party scenes or 'when I was sixteen…' speeches. The movie simply was.
Mason's parents weren't perfect, but neither are ours. His grandparents and stepparents and sister and friends were complicated and unique, just as they are for us. People and homes and treasured toys came and went. Life and our dearest or deepest memories roll away behind us - and sometimes wash back over us - whether we want them to or not.
I manny'ed a little girl up until three months ago. I took care of her for almost eight years, from the age of two to nine. On one of our last days together, she told me she wanted to fall in love like my wife and I had. I was struck by the sweetness of her desire, but also the weight of it. I told her it takes a long time to get to that person. I told her to enjoy her friends and her youth, because finding THE love requires great sacrifice and pain. You will be hurt, and you will hurt others.
BOYHOOD gave me that same kind of gut punch. A taste of everything life can bring and take away. The things we must fight through to get what we want or the moment we must cede to defeat in the hope of something better. It made me think of everything my parents had to do in order for me and my sisters to survive. It made me appreciate my closest friends - secret songs and jokes that we've shared - and it really made me appreciate the love of my life, sitting beside me in that theater.
The night I met her was the tiniest of moments. One simple decision to go to a weekly backyard BBQ that had been going on for weeks and hosted by a friend that I hadn't seen in over a year. She can tell a similar story on her end. Two tiny decisions that changed the course of our lives forever. For the better.
BOYHOOD was packed with life's simple truths, with honest scenes and emotions and characters. It cut a lot of my writing right down the middle and has since made me pick it all apart for the truth. I write not just to make the voices in my head stop, but to honor exactly what it is they are saying.
Right now, they are inspired. They are full of love and appreciation and a commitment to honesty in all that I do. To BOYHOOD and manhood and every single speed bump that makes me, ME.