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Boyhood: Linklater and the Pontiac GTO
of Hollywood, Boyhood and the meaning of cars...
If you haven’t seen Richard Linklater’s Oscar-winning film, Boyhood, yet, you should.
The film is brilliant – real achievement at many levels and for many reasons, but for members of this particular parish – the part played by the Pontiac GTO is of course the most cogent.
It’s clear that cars in Hollywood always carry meaning – sometimes unexpected, sometimes clichéd. Whether it’s the liberal earnestness represented by Volvo 240 Estate that Patricia Arquette’s character drives, for example, or the Pontiac GTO driven by the father of the boy at the centre of the film, played by Ethan Hawke.
The GTO driven by Ethan Hawke’s character, the father of the main protagonist, is also the same make and model as the car driven by Kevin Pickford and prominently featured in Dazed and Confused. The GTO also appears in Linklater’s earlier film Slacker. In fact, the GTO in Boyhood is actually owned by the director himself.
One of the crux points of the film comes when it emerges that the father has actually sold the GTO and bought a family friendly mini van. The boy is shocked, gutted – not only because of the fact that he was promised that he would inherit the car one day – but more that his once exciting, risk-taking, carefree father has moved away from the founding principles represented by that simple-headed slice of Detroit sinew.
You can learn a lot about the director’s feelings for his GTO here –
and recognise that cars mean more, much more, than a means of getting from A to B.
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