Starring Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
Fresh off of his Oscar nomination for Before Midnight, Texas’s favorite auteur, Richard Linklater (Bernie), has delivered perhaps his most genius work to date. On the red carpet, actor Ethan Hawke talked about how excited he was for people to finally see Boyhood after having to keep it a secret for over 12 years. The project might sound like a documentary: filming one scene every year of the same family for over a decade, but Linklater says everything was scripted. Hawke and Arquette came back to Texas each year to film a new scene or aspect in the life of Mason, played by fresh new talent Ellar Coltrane, who literally grows up before our eyes. The entire seamless nature of how Linklater allows us to watch these four characters progress and grow in front of us in a three hour period is phenomenal to watch.
Mason Sr. (Hawke) and Olivia (Arquette) were never great together, but they have remained good friends for their children Mason Jr. (Coltrane) and Samantha (Linklater). Olivia struggles to go back to college and create a decent life for her children, who live with her during the week. On weekends Mason will pick them up and play the cool, fun dad with the great car, but he is a positive influence in their life. The children mature into smart, ambitious teenagers and then become mirrors of their parents, who become influenced by their own re-marriages and second divorces.
Ground breaking material unfolding before our eyes.
It might sound boring to watch a family age before your eyes, but just like he does with the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, Linklater again demonstrates his vast understanding of human growth and perception through relationship. Hawke referred to the film as an epic, and I think he really summed it up. Films like Gravity and The Lord of the Rings are traditional epics, but epic because of their ambition and scope; Linklater taps into that same challenge and he achieves it to a stunning degree. Boyhood may be his masterpiece in the detail and consistent quality he maintained over the years for this project.
The entire cast is really fantastic in so many different sections of the film. Coltrane admitted that with age he grew into the understanding of what exactly this project was about and how important it was; he was six when he first started. Linklater confines the story within the borders of Texas, with locations in Austin, San Marcos, and Houston. There is a point in the film that we are reminded of just what Linklater is pulling off before our eyes. It goes beyond the parental separation; it’s ground breaking material unfolding before our eyes. It’s the usual assimilation of humor, heartbreak and understanding all rolled into one magnificently beautiful film that Linklater has clearly poured a lot of passion into. This might finally be the Texas filmmaker's road to Oscar.
Linklater has likely just delivered a film that not even he can top; truly groundbreaking material.