I went into this film with high expectations after hearing such great things about it online and first hand from others who had seen it. Moreover the critical acclaim it received, with multiple Oscar nominations and a win from Patricia Arquette as best supporting actress, only helped in heightening my hopes.
Synopsis (spoiler free)-The process of making this film took twelve years as it stuck with the same actors and followed them as they grew up. It is mainly focused on the journey of Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) however in doing this we see developments in all the characters surrounding him, which allows for a depth of narrative. As it follows the same actors through the story, it allows us to see him naturally as if, we are witnessing him growing up rather than the standard three acts we would get if it was filmed over a shorter time period. Mason’s story begins with him and his sister who’s parents have divorced and proceeds to follow them through adversity and accomplishment.
Positives- This film started off well and, without spoiling it, I thought the adversity Mason’s mum and subsequently the rest of the family faced was really quite horrifying and left me engaged with the characters and their journeys. Moreover the performances across the board were really fantastic and I felt that the time they had been given to get to know their characters and therefore represent them really showed. I liked that the film flowed well and wasn’t rigid in a boring way but was rigid enough to reflect the awkwardness and struggles of trying to fit within society.
Negatives- This film was not without its flaws and I felt that this film had an increasing number of flaws as it progressed.
1) It was far too long- Although it was a coming of age story that was meant to follow the boys life after a while it just became boring.
2) Lack of interesting substance- Although not every film needs huge explosions or plot twists in the final act it does need something to satisfy the audience to give them a reason for watching the film.
3) Lack of engagement with the main protagonist- Initially I felt really engaged with his problems and interesting developments; however after a while I found him to be disengaging and too far from something I could believe to continue to sympathise with him. To put this into perspective I found myself more worried about his hair style than his worries about the future.
Finally because the start of the film was so unexpected and exhilarating when the pace began to slow down and the story began to lose my focus it really disappointed me.
Conclusion- It began as a really exciting project but by the end left me thinking it was a waste of an investment of my time. If you have seen it let me know what you think.
My rating- 7/10