|Directed by||Richard Linklater|
|Produced by||Richard Linklater
|Written by||Richard Linklater|
|Edited by||Sandra Adair|
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
|Running time||166 minutes|
Boyhood is a 2014 American drama film written, co-produced and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve-year period, as Coltrane grew from childhood to adulthood; filming began in the summer of 2002 and was completed in October 2013. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, with a theatrical release set for later in 2014. The film also competed in the main competition section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, where Linklater won the Silver Bear for Best Director. Upon its release, the film was declared a landmark by many notable film critics, with particular praise aimed at the film's direction, acting, and scope.
Picking up six-year-old Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) from school, of Olivia (Patricia Arquette) questions him about why he didn’t hand in his homework. One night, Olivia tells her boyfriend she can't go out because the babysitter cancelled at the last minute. They argue loudly and waken Mason, who watches them argue.
Olivia tells Mason Jr. and Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), they are moving to Houston to be closer to their grandmother, so Olivia can go back to school and get a higher-paying job. The kids do not want to move and Mason is worried that their dad won't be able to find them.
Now in Houston, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), picks up Mason Jr. and Samantha from their grandmother’s house. He gives them presents and takes them bowling. Later when he returns the kids to Olivia's home, Olivia is disappointed to find out the children have not eaten a proper dinner or started their homework. She argues with Mason Sr. outside while Mason Jr. and Samantha watch them their bedroom window.
Olivia takes Mason Jr. to her college class and introduces him to her professor, Bill Welbrock, who shows a romantic interest in her in front of Mason. Eventually, Olivia and Bill marry and blend their two families - and Bill's two children, Randy and Mindy, from a previous marriage. Olivia continues her education and is supportive of Bill's strict parenting skills. Bill becomes increasingly aggressive as alcoholism takes over his life. He forces Mason Jr. to get a haircut, who complains to Olivia, who promises to talk to Bill about it.
Arriving home from school, the boys find Olivia on the ground crying with Bill standing next to her. Bill has become openly abusive, drinking hard liquor at dinner and breaking several glasses and plates. Following their fight, Olivia disappears for a while and later arrives back and takes Mason and Samantha out of the household. They stay with a friend and her daughter. Mason and Samantha ask Olivia about what will happen to Bill's kids, to which she responds that she called their mother and Child Protective Services about Bill's behaviour.
The following year, Mason arrives home drunk and stoned, which he freely admits to Olivia. When Jim confirms that it's after midnight, everyone wishes Mason a happy birthday. The next day, Mason Sr., now married with a new baby, picks up the kids for the weekend. Mason Sr. takes the kids to his wife’s parents’ home. He gives Mason Jr. a Beatles mix-tape and a suit, while Annie's parents give him a personalized bible and a gun.
Mason attends a party and meets Sheena, who eventually becomes his girlfriend. After arriving late one night from a party, Jim gets angry, who has been drinking heavily. Olivia later gets divorced from Jim.
Mason and Sheena drive to Austin to visit his sister in college. They spend an entire night together and the next morning are caught in bed by his sister’s roommate. As Mason approaches high school graduation, his relationship with Sheena is over after she cheats on him with a lacrosse player. He wins silver in a photography contest and is awarded college scholarship money. Mason's family throws him a graduation party, where several family members toast his success, and Mason Sr. thanks Olivia for raising the kids. Mason Jr. talks to his father about his break-up and he attempts to give him the best advice he can.
Olivia takes her son and daughter to lunch at a restaurant and symbolically kicks them out of the house, reminding them that they must take their childhood memories with them before she sells the house and moves on with her own life. As Mason prepares to leave his mother’s new apartment and go to college, Olivia breaks down crying, claiming that there are no major events left in her life but death, now that both of her children are out of the house.
Mason drives to his new school, stopping at a gas station to fill up and take pictures. He moves into his dorm room and meets his roommate, who invites him on a hike with his girlfriend and her roommate, who gives Mason drugs. As the group trips out in the middle of the desert, Mason shares a moment with the girl, who asks if we seize moments or if moments seize us. Mason replies that they are always in the moment and that they are always "right now."
- Patricia Arquette as Olivia
- Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr.
- Lorelei Linklater as Samantha
- Ethan Hawke as Mason Sr.
In May 2002, film director and screenwriter Richard Linklater announced that he would begin shooting the then unnamed film in his home city of Houston, Texas, in the summer of 2002. At that time, Linklater planned to assemble the cast and crew a few weeks out of every year to shoot the story over a 12-year period, reasoning that "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." Linklater hired the then seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the boy as the centerpiece of the story and to continue portraying the role through the film's 12-year shooting period.
In addition to being shot over a twelve-year period, Boyhood was also written over that same time period, with all four major actors playing a part in the writing process. To this end, Linklater notes that the script for certain scenes were sometimes finished only the night prior to shooting.
The name was not decided upon until the summer of 2013, when Linklater decided to call the film 12 Years. However, the title was quickly changed when he learned about the movie 12 Years a Slave, fearing it to be too similar. IFC, the film's distributor, committed to a film budget of $200,000, which Variety estimated to equate to $2.4 million over the 12-year shooting period. Despite the budget, Linklater had an unusual level of freedom with the production, never having to show IFC the resulting work. Ethan Hawke said in 2013 that Boyhood is
also known as The Twelve Year Project; Richard Linklater and I have made a short film every year for the last 11 years, one more to go, that follows the development of a young boy from age 6 to 18. I play the father, and it's Tolstoy-esque in scope. I thought the Before series was the most unique thing I would ever be a part of, but Rick has engaged me in something even more strange. 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. ... Next year, he will graduate high school and we will finish the film. It will probably come out in two years.
Release and reception
The film was released on July 11, 2014. Boyhood opened in a limited release in five theaters and grossed $387,618 with an average of $77,524 per theater ranking #19 at the box office.
Although the film was given an R rating by the MPAA, recommending nobody under 17 be admitted without a guardian, IFC stated that they considered the film appropriate for younger viewers and would allow unaccompanied adolescents to attend the film in their own theater.
Boyhood has received unanimous acclaim from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows a 99% "Fresh" rating based on 156 reviews, with an average score of 9.4 out of 10. This is the highest average score of any film receiving over 100 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition". The film has a full score of 100 on Metacritic based on 40 reviews, signifying "universal acclaim". It is the highest rated of all films reviewed upon their original release on the site. It also holds the highest number of reviews for a film with a score of 100, and could be considered the highest scoring film ever reviewed.
Halfway through 2014, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone named Boyhood the best movie of the year so far; in his review, Travers awarded the movie a 4/4 (the first perfect score he had given in 2014). Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 5/5 stars, calling it "one of the greatest films of the decade". Richard Roeper gave the film an A+, calling it one of his favorite films and one of the greatest films he had ever seen.
|2014||64th Berlin International Film Festival||Best Director||Won|
|Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas||Won|
|Reader Jury of the Berliner Morgenpost||Won|
|Golden Berlin Bear||Nominated|
|2014 SXSW Film Festival||Louis Black Lone Star Award||Won|
|Special Jury Recognition||Won|
|San Francisco International Film Festival||Founder’s Directing Award||Won|
|Seattle International Film Festival||Best Film||Won|
- Antoine Doinel – In five films, French filmmaker François Truffaut followed the fictional life of Antoine Doinel (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) - beginning in 1959, with following films for 1962, 1968, 1970 and 1979.
- The Children of Golzow – a series of documentary films following the lives of several people from 1961 to 2007.
- Up series – a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old.
- Perspective – an episodic drama film, started in 2012, from Canada directed by B. P. Paquette and starring Stéphane Paquette, Patricia Tedford, and Pandora Topp in a love triangle.
- The Bill Douglas Trilogy - autobiographical series based on the filmmaker's childhood, all starring amateur child actor Stephen Archibald and made between 1972–78
- The Apu Trilogy - Over the course of three films, Satyajit Ray tells the story of Apu as he grows from child to adult.
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