Linklater’s Game Changing Movie Boyhood

Linklater’s Game Changing Movie Boyhood

It is no shock that I adore Linklater. Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy has long been a favorite of mine. And the most recent Before Midnight movie made big waves at the most recent Oscars and Sundance film festivals.  And it was Linklater’s movie Tape that made it to my top 5 Best Mind Bending Movies of all time list.  And you probably remember his Waking Life (the animated overlay movie), or maybe you know his Jack Black foray in School of Rock?

Regardless, one amazing thing about the Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight series is that it followed two people over 20 years and watched as their relationship changed dramatically over time. I highly doubt that you have heard of Linklater’s most recent movie enterprise that took him twelve years to create. The hook? A single actor, a boy, that we watch grow up over the course of 12 years.

When Linklater went looking for his acting talent he made everyone agree to meet once a summer for twelve years in advance. To my knowledge nothing like this has ever been done before. The commitment necessary to pull this movie off was outstanding. And yet, it is still basically an unknown movie.  I highly doubt that it will be an enormous hit in the theaters even though it should be.


The absolute brilliance here obviously is the fact that Linklater chose to use the same cast for the 12 year duration.  Above is a picture of Ellar Coltrane, the boy turned man, actor which was his first movie acting role.  Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette also took part in the herculean 12 year movie filming task.  The SXSW and Sundance attendees lucky enough to experience the movie have come away with nearly universal good things to say about the effort from Linklater.  A few of the comments about the movie include:

Variety:  “There’s a rough-edged, organic quality to “Boyhood” that recalls the work of those European helmers Linklater so admires: Fassbinder, Bergman, Bresson.”

Movie Mezzanine:  “Boyhood is the summation of Richard Linklater’s entire career…A moving and masterful evocation of what it means to be a family, and all the hurt and hope that comes with it.”

Entertainment Weekly:  “The film has that deadpan Linklater tone of slacker haphazardness, but you could also say that it’s almost Joycean in its appreciation of the scruffy magic of everyday life.”

Update: it looks like the Seattle International Film Festival the movie won for best movie (against 425 contenders), best director, and best actress.

I think that some will get tired of the accolades (currently among the critics Boyhood has a 100% rating) and will cry foul and highjinks on the ‘watch a boy grow up’ ploy.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  I for one love a Linklater movie, and love a Linklater movie with Ethan even more.  This movie is Linklater’s sixth movie with Ethan Hawke and my only hope is that Ethan was given a chance to help write as well.  I’m sure most of you don’t know it but Ethan has written two novels that are fairly good.  Ash Wednesday and The Hottest State.  I’ve enjoyed them both.  Not in a literature sort of way – but in a, this isn’t the train wreck I expected, sort of way.  No offense Mr. Hawke.  His books are OK, but I absolutely adore his work on Before Sunset and Before Midnight.  Both of which he co-wrote with Linklater, and Delpy.  The official movie site does state that it was written by Linklater, but I’m sure that Ethan had his hand on the script some.  I’m sure it’ll be easy to tell how much influence he had on the direction of the dialogue.  He definitely has his on inimitable style.

Anyway, Boyhood should be a great ride as we literally watch before our eyes as one of the cast members goes from boy to man and a cast develops and grows as actors and humans over the course of twelve years of filming.

July 11th Boyhood comes out.  I’m sure I’ll see you there.