2014 / Director. Richard Linklater.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Since 2002 director Richard Linklater has made 8 films. Some of them included SCHOOL OF ROCK, BEFORE SUNSET, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, A SCANNER DARKLY and BERNIE. The man is a machine and he has clearly been busy. What the sneaky bugger didn't let on was the fact that during those 12 years he was also making BOYHOOD. Every 12 months he would reunite all of the actors and films new scenes. The story itself follows one boy as he moves from home to home with his mother and sister and literally grows up before our eyes. We see his elementary years, junior high years, senior high years and the beginning of his college journey. Various influences come and go from his life including alcoholic step fathers, bullies and of course... girls. It is a remarkable film, albeit too long. As just under 3 hours the story would have benefited from a tighter edit. Nevertheless the story flows smoothly and transitions between ages seamlessly. Linklater could have taken a gimmicky direction with titled cards identifying the boy's age but he chose to keep it all fluent and smooth. One age blends into another and we dont need to be told which is which. It's obvious. Watching these people age before our eyes is a very surreal and uplifting experience. Not only do the kids age, but so do the characters around them. Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and a few others all travel the same course of time and their commitment to the film has to be commended. All of the performances are top-notch with the two child leads delivering absolute stellar turns. The sister was played by Linklater's own daughter and she is just lovely. Her role was so prominent that the film really should have been called CHILDHOOD. This film is a one of a kind and knowing how much time, patience and dedication went into it makes it all the more special. The script is really damn good and it must have been an awesome experience writing it over time and adapting it to suit the year. The music, the topical issues and the fashions... all of these details are given a lot of detail. I've always had a lot of time for Richard Linklater. I've always considered him a great filmmaker. His BEFORE trilogy has, in itself, been a labor of love and now that I've seen BOYHOOD I am starting to think that he's prolific. I can't wait to see it again. It's quite exceptional.