Brow Beat

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Shot Over 12 Years, Looks Incredibly Moving

Ellar Coltrane was cast in Boyhood when he was 7. That was 12 years ago.

IFC Films

There is something about witnessing the actual passage of time on film that in and of itself is moving. The 7 Up series has demonstrated this for half a century now, and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy has done the same with fictional films made nearly 20 years apart.

Linklater’s next movie, Boyhood, looks something like a combination of those two series—with shades, too, of the Antoine Doinel movies—telling a story about a young person growing up that was filmed over 12 years. Back in 2002, Linklater hired then 7-year-old Ellar Coltrane to play the movie’s central character, and he convinced his Before Sunrise collaborator Ethan Hawke to play the boy’s father and Patricia Arquette to play his mom. These actors had to agree to film more or less every summer for over a decade in order for the project to work.

The movie played at Sundance, but those of us who weren’t in Park City get to find out how it all came together this summer. I can’t wait.