Full disclosure: there is no movie opening this summer that I want to see more than Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s critically-adored drama that took 12 years to make. The nearly three-hour film was the toast of Sundance and could be a nice independent hit when it comes out in limited release on July 11.
Boyhood is a literal coming-of-age tale that tells the story of Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) as he reacts to his parents’ divorce and the trials of being young, free, frustrated and curious. Linklater began filming the film in 2002, when Coltrane was seven. The Before Midnight director then returned to his hometown for a few weeks each year until 2013 to add another chapter to what was formerly called “The Twelve Year Project.”
On the big screen, audiences will watch Mason grow before their eyes, as well as Lorelei Linklater, who plays Mason’s younger sister, Samantha. The trailer sells Boyhood as a one-of-a-kind experience, as it gives snapshots of Mason’s evolution as he experiences joy and pain, including fights with his sister, moving to a new school and finding a first love.
Meanwhile, the boy has to deal with the changing lives of his separated parents, played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. Hawke recently told IndieWire the following about the film:
“Doing a scene with a young boy at the age of 7 when he talks about why do raccoons die, and at the age of 12 when he talks about video games, and 17 when he asks me about girls, and have it be the same actor — to watch his voice and body morph — it’s a little bit like timelapse photography of a human being.”
Linklater is known for creating vivid and realistic characters and for observing the natural trajectory of life in films like Slacker and his remarkable Before trilogy. Boyhood should please those who have loved the director’s previous work and will likely be a milestone for one of independent cinema’s most original voices when it opens in July.