Mason comes from a broken family. When we meet him, he and his sister were sharing a room, and their mother were barely making ends meet. His father has been out of the picture for a while, and while they miss him, they also continued their lives without him. Through Mason’s growth, we get to see how his life starts to mold, and the continuous experiences he acquires along with it. From rekindling his relationship with his absent father, to watching his mother start all over again after an abusive relationship, to his own pressures and stories while being a teenager.
We never get left out of the moment while Mason does his growing up, because Linklater has presented it in a way that in some point in our lives, we were that guy. From his pop culture references, to the personality and lifestyle Mason upholds, we don’t feel isolated from his journey. As the hours pass by, there’s this feeling of actually journeying with him, that when he hits a certain point of his life, you’re there with him - you know what he feels, or what to think. Linklater has manipulated the setting that even if we’re watching from a limited point of view, we know what’s going on, or how to perceive such events.
Besides witnessing Mason’s life, we also get a glimpse of the changes that are made with his familial life, particularly of his parents. Through those years we can easily patch the events his parents went through separately, eventually leading them to paths where they’re able to stand independently, or have second chances to redeem themselves.
Richard Linklater is an accomplished filmmaker, but what sells the film to the viewers is that it was shot in different years, so the actual transition of growing up is present. In a way, we get to see how Ellar Coltrane grow up. What also makes the film amazing is that the actors never lose their momentum at any age they were. It never felt like they all just left, and then got together again a year later. There’s a lot to love in this film, and it does make you feel nostalgic at times. It was a simple premise but presented in such a brilliant manner.
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
Director: Richard Linklater