I finally saw the Richard Linklater movie over the weekend, though not in a theater, unfortunately. Which meant that living room distractions crept in, and we stopped a couple of times to eat dinner, and then later to eat dessert.
The movie has a shambling narrative that is anything but slack, but doesn’t turn on the classic arc. This is a movie about a boy becoming an older boy, tweaked by the healthy and impressive gimmick of being shot over the course of the 12 years it takes to get from there to here.
Linklater is a rock ‘n’ roll fan, of course. His second movie is named after a Led Zeppelin song, and his first movie became the name of a music streaming service. And as you might expect, there is music all over the place in Boyhood. For one thing, the boy’s dad is a musician, at least he is at the start, and lots of time is spent in bedrooms and cars, places where music plays.
What struck me after seeing the movie, however, was how little of the music I knew. Some of that is because the opening song was by Coldplay, who i’ve never really listened to much, and some is because I didn’t listen to that much indie rock and rap in the aughts. But the music is an important part of the film anyway, and I wasn’t bothered by it’s general unfamiliarity to me.
Jack Hamilton has a story in Slate today that, while somewhat pretentious, I think really gets to what’s so excellent about the Boyhood soundtrack. If you get past some of his “oooh-critical!” language, he comes to describe the scene where dad gives boy a copy of the Beatles’ Black Album powerfully and gets it exactly right.
If you haven’t seen the movie and that doesn’t make sense to you, you only have one option. Go see the movie. In a theater, if you can.