Is Collection of Moments
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
You read about quickie films made in a matter of days. For instance, Roger Corman shot “Little Shop of Horrors” in two days and one night. Steven Spielberg reportedly shot “Duel” in 10 days plus pickups.
But filmmaker Richard Linklater is different. He takes the long view. Linklater’s famous trilogy (“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight”) was filmed in three installments over 18 years.
And now Richard Linklater gives us “Boyhood,” a film shot intermittently over a 12-year period, following along as a boy named Ellar Coltrane grew from childhood to adulthood.
“Boyhood” is now playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Back in 2000 Linklater announced he was beginning the then-unnamed film. He stated, “I’ve long wanted to tell the story of a parent–child relationship that follows a boy from the first through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college. But the dilemma is that kids change so much that it is impossible to cover that much ground. And I am totally ready to adapt the story to whatever he is going through.”
So he hired seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the boy as the centerpiece for his unfolding story. He added his own daughter Lorelei Linklater, because she was handy. And teamed up with his frequent star Ethan Hawke (they’ve made eight movies together) and Patricia Arquette.
Shot in annual increments, the result is like watching time lapse photography, with everybody actually aging (particularly the boy) over a dozen-year span.
Like most Linklater films, the plot is minimalist. We get a meandering story of Mason Sr. (Hawke) and Olivia (Arquette) and their two kids (Coltraine and Linklater), following along as the parents separate and remarry, often making bad choices that affect the children’s sense of family. Mason Jr. grows up, has his own relationships, eats hash brownies, goes off to college. In the end, the boy observes that each moment in life is “right now.”
Linklater describes ”Boyhood” as “this little collection of moments that probably doesn’t fit into most movies. They’re not advancing the character enough or the story enough or the plot but they all add up to something much bigger than each little place and each little piece of it so that was kind of the feel of the whole movie, that it mirrors our lives.”
Ethan Hawke adds that it’s “an epic about minutiae.”
The project’s successful, kind of in the same way “Seinfeld” was a TV show “about nothing.”