Everyone at Sundance had raved about it. We couldn't even get tickets to see the numerous screenings, it was so popular. Finally it came out to play in theaters and I made the time yesterday to see what all the fuss was about.
After all, how often does a movie shot over the course of 12 years come along?
While the concept was brilliant, inspiring, mysterious, and provoking, the movie was not.
The idea of traversing someone's childhood from elementary school to college was done . . . well. But it touched on every cliche. It was almost too general. The characters always felt distant and shallow. Because of that, the acting, which would already be tough in terms of holding onto characters for such a long period of time, had several off moments. Tension that could have been capitalized on was released easily. For example, one of the drunken husbands (there were two) throws a glass at the boy, Mason, and it shatters, nearly hitting his face. The next day, Mason's mom removes them from the situation and they never see the crazy husband again. Honestly, drunken husband #1 was the most interesting out of all of them. But he was never engaged with.
The film was a bit of a nostalgic tour of childhood, which was interesting in that so many of ours involved so many similar feelings and speeches. But perhaps it's movies like these which perpetuate the cliched nature of our childhoods. And at 3 hours, it felt like we were living it real time.
So while I loved the concept of a narrative time lapse, I think the story was weak and simple. Which made the beauty of the effect (traversing 12 years) disintegrate.