Boyhood (film)

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Boyhood film.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater
Cathleen Sutherland
Jonathan Sehring
John Sloss
Written by Richard Linklater
Starring Patricia Arquette
Ellar Coltrane
Lorelei Linklater
Ethan Hawke
Cinematography Lee Daniel
Shane Kelly
Edited by Sandra Adair
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date(s)
  • January 19, 2014 (2014-01-19) (Sundance Film Festival)[1][2]
  • July 11, 2014 (2014-07-11) (United States)
Running time 166 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.4 million[4]
Box office $8,446,655[5]

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,[1] with a theatrical release set for later in 2014.[2] The film also competed in the main competition section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival,[6] where Linklater won the Silver Bear for Best Director.[7] 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.[8][9][10][11][12]


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.

After yet another move and another year passes, Olivia and a friend host a Thanksgiving party at her home. Olivia there shows an interest in Jim, an Afghanistan/Iraq War veteran, and they marry.

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."



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.[13] 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."[13] Linklater hired the then seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the boy as the centerpiece of the story[14][15] 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.[16] To this end, Linklater notes that the script for certain scenes were sometimes finished only the night prior to shooting.[16]

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.[16] 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.[16] Despite the budget, Linklater had an unusual level of freedom with the production, never having to show IFC the resulting work.[16] 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.[17]

Release and reception[edit]


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.[18]

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.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

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.[19] The site's consensus reads, "Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition".[20] The film has a full score of 100 on Metacritic based on 40 reviews, signifying "universal acclaim".[21] It is the highest rated of all films reviewed upon their original release on the site.[22] 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;[23] 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".[24] Richard Roeper gave the film an A+, calling it one of his favorite films and one of the greatest films he had ever seen.[25]


Year Group Award Result
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
Best Director Won
Best Actress Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Richard Linklater’s Ambitious ‘Boyhood’ Premieres at Sundance". 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b Neumyer, Scott (2013-10-25). "Richard Linklater Talks Before Midnight, Boyhood, and a Possible TV Series". Parade. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  3. ^ Brevet, Brad (2014-01-13). "Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood' Added to Sundance, 164 Minute Run Time". Rope of Silicon. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  4. ^ Sciretta, Peter (2014-06-26). "Boyhood Budget: How Much Did It Cost To Shoot A Movie For 12 Years?". slashfilm. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  5. ^ "Boyhood (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Berlinale 2014: Competition Complete". berlinale. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  7. ^ "The Awards Of The 64th Berlin International Film Festival". berlinale. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Richard Linklater's audacious, epic cinematic journey". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  9. ^ "Linklater changes the game". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  10. ^ "Linklater's 'Boyhood' is a model of cinematic realism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  11. ^ "Richard Linklater's 12-year masterpiece". Salon. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  12. ^ "Boyhood a remarkable story spanning 12 years". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  13. ^ a b Blackburn, Rachel. (May 16, 2002) PA News Shooting begins on film that will take 12 years.
  14. ^ Carroll, Larry (2006-11-29). "Got Plans For 2013? Check Out Richard Linklater's '12-Year Movie'". MTV Movies. Viacom. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  15. ^ Rea, Steven (May 19, 2002). "De Niro reassures a studio about a boy". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Features Arts & Entertainment section, page H9. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Chang, Justin (June 25, 2014). "Richard Linklater on ‘Boyhood,’ the ‘Before’ Trilogy and the Luxury of Time". Variety. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (June 6, 2013). "Ethan Hawke Says Richard Linklater's Secret, Long Developing 'Boyhood' Will Be Released In 2 Years". Indiewire. The Playlist (blog). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Boyhood (2014)". Box Office Mojo. 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  19. ^ "Best of RT". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  20. ^ "Boyhood". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  21. ^ "Boyhood Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  22. ^ "Highest Rated Movies of All Time". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  23. ^ "The Best and Worst Movies of 2014 So Far Pictures". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  24. ^ Peter Bradshaw. "Boyhood review – one of the great films of the decade | Peter Bradshaw | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  25. ^ "Boyhood | Richard Roeper Reviews". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  26. ^ a b "Cinéfest screening unique Thornloe University project - Sudbury Lifestyle News". 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  27. ^ (2012-09-21). "Filmmaker gives Perspective". Sudbury Star. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  28. ^ "Points North | Unfinished movie debuts at Cinefest". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  29. ^ "Cinéfest Sudbury Announces Additional Canadian Feature Presentations". Cinefest. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]