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Boyhood, Britishness and Generational Gap

January 20, 2015

DVDFilm + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Over the course of last week, Richard Linklater’s one-of-a-kind coming of age drama Boyhood, has cemented its status as one of the year’s best films by winning three Golden Globe Awards (including Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress) but also by receiving 6 Oscar Nominations which obviously include all the most prestigious categories.

Filmed over the span of 12 years with the same cast, Boyhood is a story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) who literally grows up on screen before our eyes and copes with life challenges that are familiar and relatable to all of us, starting with the hardships of two divorced parents (the extraordinary Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette), tackling all youth-related experimentations and trying to figure out what this crazy journey means and how we can find our purpose.

This nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and ode to growing up and parenting is finally being released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, so if you inexplicably missed out on discovering it upon theatrical release back in the summer, you now have the chance to catch up and see what the fuzz is all about, just in time for next month’s Oscar ceremony, where the film is undoubtedly poised to leave its mark.

To celebrate the home entertainment release of this cinematic gem, OnePoll has conducted a research in November 2014 to define how the experience of boyhood has changed over a generation, and to identify the interests, habits and sentiments of British boys and their fathers today. Polling 1,000 fathers of 12-16 year old boys across the UK, this research, published today, has shown that over a quarter of British dads recognise their own parenting styles and relationships in that of David Beckham and his three boys while, more worryingly, 12% see themselves reflected in the on-screen antics of Homer and Bart Simpson!

While a generation ago, teenage boys tuned in to Match of the Day or Saved by the Bell (25% each), spent their pocket money on Stereophonics and Oasis CDs (20% each), and over 60% spent their afternoons outdoors playing football in the park or climbing trees, today’s lads are a much more sedentary bunch.

In 2014, boys aged 12-16 are glued to The Simpsons (36.9%) or Family Guy (34.6%), and listen to David Guetta (17.2%) or Calvin Harris (15.4%). Their leisure time is spent playing console or online games (80%), while over one in five have a part time job and started working at the tender age of 14. Not only is Generation Z not work-shy, they also enjoy better relationships with their fathers with a third of today’s dads claiming to be close to their sons, while a generation ago relationships with their own dads were rated as average at best (45%) or strained (22%).

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Clinical Psychologist, Middlesex University Associate Professor and family therapist, Dr Fiona Starr commented: “These research findings confirm what psychologists and therapists are seeing in their clinics: in the West, the nature of fatherhood, boyhood and the relationships between fathers and their sons are more involved, more communicative and more attentive than they ever were. In the UK at least, this could lead to future generations of emotionally intelligent fathers, raising thoughtful and communicative sons who are willing and able to bring home so much more than just the ‘bacon’.”

Either you’ve already seen Boyhood or are yet to discover it, you’ll certainly realize how Mason and his dad most definitely mirror this trend and they are a joy to watch on screen. Yet the film never feels manipulatively sappy and emotionally calculated. The story unfolds organically and it’s impossible to not empathize with these characters as I’d already pointed out in my theatrical review. What are you waiting for? It’s time to bring home a genuine cinematic experience that will touch your heart and prompt you to rewind the memories of your own life-long film each time you watch it.

Boyhood is released on Blu-ray and DVD from 19th January 2015

Francesco Cerniglia – Film Editor