|Directed by||Richard Linklater|
|Produced by||Richard Linklater
|Written by||Richard Linklater|
|Edited by||Sandra Adair|
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
|Running time||165 minutes|
Boyhood is a 2014 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke. The film was shot intermittently over an eleven-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, showing the growth of the young boy and his sister to adulthood. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and was released theatrically on July 11, 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. The film was declared a landmark by many notable film critics, with particular praise for its direction, acting, and scope.
In 2002, six-year-old Mason Evans, Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) and his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) live with their single mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) in Texas. Mason overhears Olivia arguing with her boyfriend, saying she has no free time.
Olivia moves the family so she can attend the University of Houston, complete her degree, and get professional work. Reluctant to move, Mason expresses his fear that their father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) will not be able to find him and his sister. In Houston, Mason Sr. takes the children bowling. When he drops them off at home, he argues with Olivia while Mason and Samantha watch from a window.
In 2004, Olivia takes Mason along to one of her classes, introducing him to her professor, Bill Welbrock (Marco Perella). Olivia and Bill marry and blend their two families, including Bill's two children from a previous marriage. Olivia continues her education and is supportive of Bill's strict parenting style. However, Bill becomes abusive as alcoholism takes over his life. After Bill assaults Olivia and endangers the children, she takes her children away, seeking shelter with a friend, and files for divorce. The children worry about their step-siblings.
In 2008, Mason Sr. learns that Samantha has a boyfriend and talks to her and Mason about contraception, to their squirms. He and Mason go camping at Pedernales Falls State Park. Olivia, Mason and Samantha grow into their new lives in San Marcos, a town close to Austin. Olivia teaches psychology at college and marries Jim, a student and veteran of the Afghanistan/Iraq War. Mason experiments with marijuana and alcohol and starts getting attention from girls.
On Mason's fifteenth birthday, Mason Sr, remarried and with a baby, takes Mason and Samantha to visit his wife's parents. He gives Mason a mix CD of songs by Beatles members and a suit; his step-grandparents give him a personalized Bible and a vintage shotgun.
Mason attends a party and meets Sheena, who becomes his girlfriend. After Mason arrives home late one night from a party, Jim, who has been drinking heavily, confronts Mason about his late hours. Olivia later divorces Jim. Mason starts working at photography.
In 2012, Mason and Sheena visit Samantha at the University of Texas at Austin and use her room to sleep together. Her roommate unexpectedly returns and finds them there. During Mason's senior year in high school, he has a painful breakup with Sheena. He also wins silver in a state photography contest and is awarded college scholarship money. Mason's family throws him a graduation party and toasts his success. Mason Sr. gives him advice about his breakup.
Planning to sell the house, Olivia asks the children to sort through their possessions. As Mason prepares to leave his mother’s new flat for college, Olivia breaks down crying. She feels bereft with her children both "suddenly" off to college. At college, Mason moves into his dorm room and meets his roommate. He invites Mason to go hiking at Big Bend National Park with his girlfriend and her roommate, Nicole, who gives him a brownie before they leave. Nicole asks Mason if people seize moments or if moments seize them. Mason replies that they are always in the moment, saying "it's always right now" and laughing.
- Ellar Coltrane as Mason Evans, Jr.
- Patricia Arquette as Olivia Evans
- Lorelei Linklater as Samantha Evans
- Ethan Hawke as Mason Evans, Sr.
- Libby Villari as Mason's grandmother
- Marco Perella as Bill Welbrock
- Brad Hawkins as Jim
- Jenni Tooley as Annie
- Zoe Graham as Sheena
- Charlie Sexton as Jimmy
- Jamie Howard as Mindy Welbrock
- Andrew Villarreal as Randy Welbrock
- Elijah Smith as Tommy
- Nick Krause as Charlie
- Tom McTigue as Mr. Turlington
- Steven Chester Prince as Ted
- Evie Thompson as Jill
- Jennifer Griffin as Mrs. Darby
- Tamara Jolaine as Tammy
- Taylor Weaver as Barb
- Ryan Power as Paul
In May 2002, film director and screenwriter Richard Linklater said that he would begin shooting an untitled film in his home city of Houston that summer. He planned to assemble the cast and crew for a few weeks' filming annually for 12 years. He said: "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." IFC, the film's distributor, committed to a film budget of $200,000 per year, or $2.4 million over the 12-year shooting period.
Linklater hired the seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the boy. The cast could not sign contracts for the film due to the De Havilland Law, which makes it illegal to contract someone for more than seven years of work. Linklater told Hawke that he would have to finish the film if Linklater died. Boyhood was written over the shooting period, with all major actors playing a part in the writing process; scripts for certain scenes were sometimes finished the night prior to shooting.
Ethan Hawke said in 2013 before the film was released:
"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."
The film had the working title, The Twelve-Year Project, until the summer of 2013, when Linklater decided to name it 12 Years. Worrying that the name might be confused with 12 Years a Slave (2013), he renamed it Boyhood. Hawke was amazed that the producers "still had their job" at the film's completion despite "[having] to hide a couple hundred thousand dollars a year for over a decade while we slowly made this movie." Despite the risks, Linklater had an unusual level of freedom with the production, never having to show IFC the work in progress.
MPAA Rating Controversy
In the US, the film was given an R rating by the MPAA, recommending nobody under 17 be admitted without a guardian. IFC said they considered the film appropriate for younger viewers and would allow unaccompanied adolescents to attend the film in their own theater. In the UK release, the BBFC gave Boyhood a 15 certificate, making it illegal for cinemas to admit and vendors to supply to children under the age of 15. Under Germany's System of voluntary self control, Boyhood was certified for audiences aged 6 or over. The Board ruled that the depiction of the parents as loving and caring would give school children enough emotional support to deal with the film's depictions of profanity, alcoholism, and violence.
Boyhood opened on July 11, 2014 in a limited release in 4 theaters in North America and grossed $387,618 with an average of $77,524 per theater ranking 19th at the box office. The film expanded the next week to 34 theaters and grossed $1,170,217 with an average of $34,418 per theater. The film had its Wide release on August 15, opening in 771 theaters and grossing $1,992,448, with an average of $2,584 per theater and ranking 11th at the box office. The film has so far earned $22,561,000 domestically and $14,500,000 internationally for a total of $37,061,000, well above its $4 million production budget.
Boyhood received "unanimous acclaim" from film critics, with a 99% certified "fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 200 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 49 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 is among the highest-scoring films ever reviewed. The praise for Boyhood extended beyond the Anglosphere. A collection of 25 French critiques on Allocine, including those from Le Monde and Cahiers du Cinéma, indicates near-unanimous approval.
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. Wai Chee Dimock, writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books, compares Linklater's film with Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee's memoir, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life.
A portion of film critics reacted less positively to the film. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan described it as "at best, OK" and one whose "animating idea is more interesting than its actual satisfactions." Sam Adams of Indiewire argued that the unanimous praise for Boyhood is bad for film criticism, as it tends to marginalize the analysis of critics who disagree with the majority. Adams argued that masterpieces are made "by careful scrutiny" and not "by unanimous praise."
Yeah, we’ve got a ton of behind the scenes stuff. We made this in the era where everyone has a digital camera so we unearthed an interview from year one with Ellar, Lorelai, Patricia and myself, Patricia interviewed me in 2002. I hadn’t seen this since we shot it, Ellar had forgotten quite a bit of it but he got to see himself as a wide-eyed six year old. For people who like the movie, I think there will be a lot of cool little treasures.
On August 21, Variety reported that Paramount Home Media Distribution had acquired U.S. home entertainment rights for DVD/Blu-ray and digital distribution. IFC Films will retain VOD and EST sales as part of the deal.
|Award||Date of Ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Berlin International Film Festival||February 15, 2014||Best Director||Richard Linklater||Won|||
|Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas||Boyhood||Won|
|Reader Jury of the Berliner Morgenpost||Boyhood||Won|
|SXSW Film Festival||March 11, 2014||Louis Black Lone Star Award||Boyhood||Won|||
|San Francisco International Film Festival||May 2, 2014||Founder’s Directing Award||Richard Linklater||Won|||
|Seattle International Film Festival||June 8, 2014||Best Film||Boyhood||Won|||
|Best Director||Richard Linklater||Won|
|Best Actress||Patricia Arquette||Won|
|Sydney Film Festival||June 15, 2014||Sydney Film Prize||Boyhood||Nominated||
|Norwegian International Film Festival||August 22, 2014||Norwegian Film Critics Award||Boyhood||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.
- Hoop Dreams - an American documentary directed by Steve James that followed the lives of two African-American high school basketball players over five years
- 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.
- Everyday - British film directed by Michael Winterbottom about five years in the lives of a prisoner and his family, filmed between 2007 and 2012.
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- Official website
- Boyhood at the Internet Movie Database
- Boyhood at AllMovie
- Boyhood at Box Office Mojo
- Boyhood at Metacritic
- Boyhood at Rotten Tomatoes