Director: Richard Linklater
Studio: IFC Productions
Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
We knew director Richard Linklater (Bernie, Before Midnight) was plenty talented, but how many of us knew that he also has nerves of steel? The proof is in his latest, Boyhood, a deeply felt, stunningly beautiful 164-minute chronicle of a fictional Texas family. Linklater got actors Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke (star of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight) to commit to being filmed in fits and starts over a period of 12 years. The two very good actors play a pair of decent, divorced parents, but in an even riskier gambit Linklater also rolled the dice 12 years ago by casting a seven-year-old named Ellar Coltrane and his own daughter Lorelei Linklater to play their kids. All of his bets paid off. In the course of the ambling movie, we see his characters struggle, argue, grow apart, change partners, listen to the music of the era, gain wisdom and grow older. This is fascinating, intimate, quietly epic stuff, full of long stretches where nothing “happens,” but everything feels fresh, real, unforced. It’s the best part–home movie, part-documentary, part–time capsule and part–fictional narrative imaginable. It’s also one of the very best movies of the year.