Harlequin author Heidi Rice points you in the direction of a ground-breaking little movie with some pretty hefty themes.
You know when you go to see a movie about a child growing up, and they have to get two (or three, or four) different actors to play the part as the child ages? Never really feels all that authentic does it. Well, director Richard Linklater - the indie genius behind romance favourites Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Before Midnight — has solved that problem in his ground-breaking new movie Boyhood, by basically casting a boy called Ellar Coltrane at the age of 6, then going back and filming him for a couple of weeks each year for the next 12 years, until Ellar was 18. Thus he tells the fictional story of a boy called Mason and his passage to manhood.
Now, some of you may be thinking that's a gimmick. Take it from me, it's not.
I went to see this movie last weekend with a very good friend of mine, who I met over 20 years ago when we were both attending the mother-and-baby club for the first time at our local GP practice with our week-old baby boys! We talked about the disturbing colour of baby pooh that day, and bonded as new mums embarking on a frightening journey into motherhood... We've talked about just about everything else since. But seeing this movie together brought so much of that mad, scary, incredible journey back to me and to my friend (making her a great person to see it with!). Because Mason's story, although told from his point of view, also tells the story of his parents - Patricia Arquette's divorced single mum and Ethan Hawke's immature but immensely loveable dad. And his older sister Samantha. It tells the story of the friends and relationships that come and go in all their lives over the next 12 years. And the story of all the mundane, scary, sad, exciting, poignant moments along the way.
This film is an experience. Authentic, touching, at once true and always engaging while at the same time never seeming overblown or contrived. It gives an amazing insight not just into the difficulties of growing up but the challenges of growing older - for both Mason and his parents. It's nearly three hours long, but when it finished, we didn't want it to end, because we wanted to know 'what happened next'...
Whether or not you're a parent, I would highly recommend this movie, because it tells a universal story about the human experience in a totally unique way.
Oh and there's some great Texas locations and some fabulous conversations about everything from condoms to elves to the Beatles!
Have I got you hooked yet?
Heidi's last Harlequin KISS novel Beach Bar Baby is out now. She loves to chat (maybe a bit too much) on Twitter (@HeidiRomRice), her website or Facebook.