The new film Boyhood has got rave reviews all around. I have not seen it as yet and so was interested by this article by Los Angeles Times and NPR film critic Kenneth Turan who was not overly impressed with it, thinking it merely OK and somewhat gimmicky.
The article was less a review and more a reflection on the role of critic, especially when he finds himself so out of step with the majority of his colleagues, causing him to be reflective as to why it did not move him similarly.
This was no violent blockbuster one could feel free to disdain but a film I was supposed to embrace, a small independent effort whose interest in humanistic themes, character development and interpersonal drama were elements that matter the most to me. I should have been front and center in applauding “Boyhood” rather than remaining cold to its charms.
I have mentioned before that I tend to agree with Turan’s judgments on films and in his article he mentions three other cases where he did not care for films that were widely praised: Titanic, Pulp Fiction, and Fight Club. I did not see the first (and have no intention of doing so), absolutely hated the second, and found the third to be just ok and somewhat contrived.
Given his willingness to go against the popular mood on those three films, I was surprised to read him here saying that he decided not to review Boyhood because he felt so out of step with other critics and filmgoers.
He ended with this interesting insight about why it might be that occasionally everyone enthusiastically gets behind some film.
On one hand, the fuss about “Boyhood” emphasized to me how much we live in a culture of hyperbole, how much we yearn to anoint films and call them masterpieces, perhaps to make our own critical lives feel more significant because it allows us to lay claim to having experienced something grand and meaningful.
The director of the film Richard Linklater was interviewed on The Daily Show where Jon Stewart gushed over it.
(This clip aired on July 22, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)
I have queued up this film on Netflix but am not sure if I will actually order it when it comes out on DVD. Has any reader seen it?