As I sit here in San Jose (California), 5,500 miles away from my family, I have plenty of time to reflect on the aspects of fatherhood which I’m currently missing out on. I’ve only been here for a couple of days so far, so I mustn’t grumble too much – I’m certainly missing them all terribly, but I realise that a lot of parents have it much, much worse – so I’m keeping things in perspective.
One thing that is encouraging my reflections, though, is something I did on the plane ride over here. Namely, finally getting round to watching Richard Linklater’s amazing film ‘Boyhood’.
The film has been on my radar for a long time – I was actually invited to a preview screening several months ago, but never managed to make it. And when the film started gaining awards ‘buzz’ I knew I’d clearly missed out – so it was the very first thing I watched when I found it on the inflight entertainment console.
I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed – though obviously I’m very much in catch-up mode here, so probably not telling you anything you haven’t already heard.
As a father, it struck me on a number of levels – watching my children growing up, whilst sometimes painful and far too fast, is one of my favourite things about parenting. I frequently pause in life to imagine what my children will become – how their young development is affecting them, how well (or otherwise) I am doing as a parent, things like that.
So to see a boy’s entire childhood flash before you in the space of 160 minutes is both nostalgic and fascinating. It’s not at all ‘hollywood’ or sensational either – no overly-done drama for the sake of shock factor, no unbelievable twists or saccharine sweetness. Just a regular family like you or I, coping with the changes and challenges life throws at them over 12 years.
I’m very aware that most of you have probably either seen the movie or passed it by at this stage – so I doubt I’ll be changing anybody’s mind on it now. But if by some strange chance you’re on the fence about it, I can highly recommend giving it a watch. I’ve already added the Blu-Ray to my Amazon wishlist, and I’m looking forward to cheering them on throughout awards season.
Definitely one to watch, especially if you’re a parent.