The film Boyhood, which went mostly unnoticed when it was released in theaters, is close to being the near-perfect Great American Movie of all time.

The exceptional way the movie was filmed, sequentially over 12 years with the same cast, may have been an experiment, but the wonderful cast come alive on screen in a way no other film has allowed.

This is not, in case you are wondering, the British 7 Up series of documentaries involving a group of non-fictional children over the decades; this is a fictional story of fictional characters . . . but they are people you know in real life.

Over two hours long, the story is told simply, without the use of cards showing the year the action takes place or the age of the very resilient central character, Mason, played by the engaging Ellar Coltrane. When the film starts, Mason-Ellar is six years old, at the end of the film he’s 18. Along the way you see him grow up, change voice, mature, and at the end even look like his on-screen dad, Ethan Hawke. Patricia Arquette plays Mason’s mom Olivia, and director/writer Richard Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, plays Mason’s older sister Samantha.

They all communicate and relate throughout the years where director Linklater, as David Edelstein put it, utilizes time as one of “the full, transcendent resources of cinema.”

Linklater wisely refrained from using holidays as plot anchors, instead focusing on the daily, the usual, which adds to the total effect.

You’ll find dozens of familiar things throughout the film, which gives it a true American texture: landscape, houses, neighbors, kids, schools, towns, phrases. Unlike the much more esoteric and pretentious The Tree of Life, which also takes place in Texas, there are no special effects, dinosaurs or afterlife; nor are there chase scenes, swearing (except for one pointed instance), nudity, or loud soundtrack. Additionally, the film is shot and edited seamlessly so it flows smoothly as time evolves. The aggregate effect is that the story is so anchored in reality that you as the viewer get an impact unlike any from any other film.

I won’t go into the details of the plot, but it will give you material for discussion.

My son recommended it, and I’m glad he did. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Barbara: Why can’t you see what I’m trying to do?
IAN: I can.
BARBARA: Well you’re not helping. Tlotoxl’s evil and he’ll make everyone else the same.
IAN: They are the same, Barbara. That’s the whole point. You keep on insisting that Tlotoxl’s the odd man out, but he isn’t.
BARBARA: I don’t believe it.
IAN: Well, you must. If only you could stand away from this thing, you’d see it clearly. Autloc’s the extraordinary man here. He’s the reasonable one, the civilised one, the one that’s prepared to listen to advice. But he’s one man.

Doctor Who  The Aztecs 1964

A lot of people in media have (rightly) given attention to this Muslim man whose quick thinking saved lives.

As panic ensued, up to 15 customers in the store hurried down to the store basement, when Bathily had an idea.

“When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer],” he told France’s BFMTV.

He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, “Stay calm here. I’m going out.”

This basic humanity is exactly what we need to see out of the Muslim world.

The  problem is while we are reading about this individual we are also reading about this:

“Bomb strapped to girl ‘about 10 years old’ kills 19 in Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria,”

and this

A German tabloid that reprinted cartoons from the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo lampooning the Prophet Mohammed was targeted in firebombing Sunday, police said.

And this

The offices of a Belgian newspaper that republished cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were evacuated on Sunday, January 11, after receiving an anonymous bomb threat, its staff said.

The evacuation of Le Soir, a French-language daily, came as thousands of people marched through Brussels in solidarity with France following Islamist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and other sites.

And this from the Saudi Arabia where apparently they don’t understand their religion either:

A Saudi Arabian blogger has been publicly flogged after being convicted of cybercrime and insulting Islam, reports say.

Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail, was flogged 50 times. The flogging will be carried out weekly, campaigners say.

and finally lets close with this which makes Charlie Hebdo attack look mild by comparison:

Boko Haram militants opened fire on northern Nigerian villages, leaving bodies scattered everywhere and as many as 2,000 people feared dead, officials said.

“The attack on Baga and surrounding towns looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

It’s up to those who insist that this is a small minority of Islam to take action to change the story ratio because until they do.  Ian’s point at the start of the post is going to be hard to refute.