In The Curator, Josh Gotwalt writes about Boyhood, the movie that is turning out to be the talk of the year:
In his essay, which Emily Belz cited in her review for WORLD, “E Unibus Pluram” David Foster Wallace critiques the stylized conceits of contemporary cinema and television as meretriciously catering to our desire to transcend our average daily lives. These hysterical collages are, in his words, “unsubtle in their whispers that, somewhere, life is quicker, denser, more interesting … more lively.” We leave these films dazzled, punching the air, ready to do combat with a gang of bad guys or lose a pursuer in a car chase, but we enjoy none of the edifying potential that Leo Tolstoy and other early theorizers of cinema’s potential saw in the fledgling art form.
Contemporary independent cinema often works in stubborn self-conscious contrast to the transcendence aesthetic, but too often the results are aimless, dreary, overly abstract, and riddled with dead points. It is only once in a great while that a film eschews the comparatively easy luster of dreams and manages to turn the stuff of our average daily lives into something magical. Boyhood is one of these rare films.