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'Boyhood' Star Says She Has Her Own Blind Spots as a Mom

Photograph by Daniel Montoya

Perhaps one of the truest lines about motherhood is said by Patricia Arquette’s character in the film “Boyhood,” when she says, “Is that all there is? I thought there would be more.”

Arquette plays the role of Olivia, a divorced mom trying to raise two kids while balancing work, school and relationships. Her character in the Richard Linklater-directed film transforms over the span of 12 years.

At a party at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood on Wednesday celebrating the film, mom.me chatted with Arquette and co-star Ethan Hawke about the movie and their roles as parents in their off-screen lives.

Through the years-long journey of making the movie, which arrived this week on DVD, there's one surprising thing the actress learned from her character, Olivia.

“What I liked about the character of Olivia were her blind spots,” Arquette said. “And what I did realize was that I have my own blind spots—I don’t even know what they are.”

For Arquette, who is also a mother of two, Olivia’s growth as a mom and woman is relatable and eye-opening, for instance in how she ends up seeing the father of her children. “Because I, as an actor, never had the dialogue for the scenes I wasn’t in, in watching the movie, my character was also watching the movie, and she got to see who [Hawke's character] was as a father when she wasn’t around.”

Hawke, who plays Olivia's ex and father of their children in “Boyhood,” also draws on the idea that as a parent, you don’t really know everything.

“He’s supple enough to change,” Hawke said about his character. “One of the things I really like about him is that he listens, and so if you listen, you can change.”

Arquette, who is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor this year, is also pegged as an Oscar frontrunner.

“I think part of me getting recognition … has a lot more to do with people really standing up and saying they appreciate moms. I’ve never been a part of a movie where so many people told me afterwards, ‘I called my mom right away; I told her I loved her,’” said Arquette.

It’s true, “Boyhood” really does move the viewer to appreciate all that moms do and to fully see the sacrifices and mistakes made along the way.

Hawke agrees.

“You know, my mother, when my first was born, she said, ‘Great, now you have somebody to worry about for the rest of your life,'” he said. “And it’s really true … but you know, you get to teach somebody to ride a bike or watch them have a first day of school. And it’s amazing.”

In an exclusive clip on mom.me, Arquette said, “Maybe life is the moments in between those big moments.”

It’s hard to argue with that. “We grow up in this celebrity culture where everybody thinks everybody wants to be Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump or somebody else, but I think people’s response to this movie sort of tells us we actually like our lives,” said Arquette. “And we like the little moments. Those are the things that bond us. Those moments are critical to who we are.”

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