Recently, I went to see Richard Linklater’s latest movie “Boyhood’, and I highly recommend it. It’s one of those movies that really stays with you.
It’s about a boy, Mason, and his family who live in Houston, Texas.
We first meet Mason when he is 5 years old and we follow him until he is 18 and heading off to college. The movie is shot over a 12-year period using the same actor!
Throughout the film, we watch him grow up, sharing all the highs and lows during this period in his life.
Sweet moments such as his first kiss, developing a bond with his biological father and a family graduation party are set in stark contrast to painful moments like his mother’s struggles with abusive alcoholic men, the struggle to fit in and breaking up with his first girlfriend.
Towards the end of the movie, Mason has shed his childhood skin and has adopted a more mature and philosophical outlook.
He is able to comfort his mother when she breaks down watching him pack his belongings and leave for college.
His mother, played by Patricia Arquette, is proud of him for beginning this new chapter of his life but at the same time she feels like her own life is over. Her ex-husband is about to start a new family, her last child is leaving home, the family home has been sold for a small apartment and she has three failed marriages.
She complains, “everyone around me is leaving, all the years of sacrifice and hard work and now I am going to be alone”. She sobs, ”I might as well have one foot in the grave and one out”.
In this moment, Mason is able to shine a light and validate her. He has an entirely different perspective – that this as an exciting new chapter in her life!
He reminds her that for years all she has talked about is the desire to take a break from teaching to pursue her writing and now she can. He is able to shift her attitude and help her appreciate that she has much more ahead of her that will give her life meaning and joy.
Mason’s insight is a reminder that the end of something is the beginning of something new and that happiness and sadness often coexist in the same moment. We can choose our perspective in any given moment.