Thursday, January 29, 2015
The movie itself is a deceptively simple endeavor. Mason and Sam are Olivia's two children. She had them prior to finishing college and their father took off for a place far away and seemingly failed to provide much emotional or economic support for the early years of the kid's lives. Olivia (Patricia Arquette) packs up the kids, moves to be near her mother so she can get some childcare support and goes back to school. She makes a series of unwise choices in men and picks up the children to move them on a basis that suits her fine but is far too frequent for their taste, and over the course of 13 years they all grow up. For better or worse. Nothing dramatic happens--the movie ends with Mason going to college. Their father (Ethan Hawke) makes a serious attempt at being their father throughout their teenage years. He doesn't berate Olivia for her choice in men, nor does he try to alienate the kids from her. He came to fatherhood too early in life, but he has good father material in him. It is a film that feels like watching life unfold, and I mean that in the best possible sense.