Is ‘Boyhood’ truly one of the least Jewish movies ever made?

A few days ago, I came across an article on Tablet that proclaimed “Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the best film of 2014, and one of the least Jewish movies ever made.”* This seemed like a pair of extraordinary claims. So when I sat down to watch the movie earlier today, I kept them both in the back of my mind.

Given that this was the first movie I saw in theaters in 2014, I had a hard time evaluating whether Boyhood is truly the best film of 2014. My instinct is probably not, but I’ll leave that inherently subjective evaluation to the “experts”. I am, on the other hand, well-qualified to ferret out influences of the Jews, and it is that task upon which I embarked while watching ‘Boyhood’.

I was helped in my evaluation by the fact that the author elaborated on her original claim a short ways into the article, explaining that “It is not just that there are no visibly Jewish characters, but that it depicts a world in which Jewish culture has left hardly any traces besides the Old Testament.” OK then. I managed to identify two additional instances of a world with Jewish culture, which I report here.

One. Olivia’s horrific pronunciation of an obviously Yiddish word:


Two. Mason Sr.’s reference to the right wing “cabal” that pushed George W into war in Iraq. Yeah, maybe better to have left this stone unturned.

So all you really need to undermine the article’s central thesis is to identify a movie with fewer overt Jewish influences than “three”. (OK, maybe two and a half.)

For a more thorough discussion of why the premise of the article is misguided and silly, I’ll leave you to the original article’s comment section. Have fun! tl;dr The author’s Twitter bio currently lists her locations as “NYC, Washington, Miami”, so yeah, when she says things like “I could not enter the space of Boyhood”, she probably just means Texas is not so much like the East Coast.

*I hardly read past this article’s headline for fear of spoilers. As it turns out, I had nothing to fear, for it would seem nearly impossible to concoct such a thing. So those of you who have not yet seen the movie: feel free to read on.


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