Boyhood, which tells the story of a boy growing up from age six to eighteen. It captures the ups and downs, and growing maturity Mason and his family over a period of twelve crucial years in his life.
What is truly exceptional for a narrative film is the fact that the production was actually shot over a period of twelve years. The young boy we see in the first shots of the film is the same young man—the same actor—we see in the last image.
Linklater shot the film for a total of thirty-nine days over those twelve years, shooting every 9-18 months or so, and developing the story with the input and real-life experiences of his actors. In the film, for example, Mason develops a serious interest in photography, which reflected the developing interests of actor Ellar Coltrane. As Linklater explained in the screening I attended, if Ellar had become a wrestler instead of a sensitive visual artist, the film and its structure would been altered, and the fundamental experience would have been entirely different.
Boyhood is an extraordinary, non traditional film that has the rare feel of authenticity. Few narrative films have managed to feel simultaneously epic and intimate. While the details of your own childhood may be entirely different, you'll identify closely with Mason's emotional roller coaster.
Boyhood, Directed by Richard Linklater and featuring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater (Richard's daughter) will be released in the United States by IFC Films beginning July 11th.