Could Richard Linklater have a masterpiece on his hands with Boyhood?

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Ever since it debuted to a near rapturous reception at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been at the top of almost everyone’s “must see” lists, including mine. Not only does it look like a beautiful coming of age story, but the way it was actually made only makes you want to embrace Linklater’s work even more. I’ll be doing a more thorough look at its awards chances when the release gets closer, but since the trailer hit today (which I’ll embed below), I wanted to discuss the film a bit. At the very least, it looks like one movie that everyone really should be aware of. The flick could be something very special.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Linklater took an unprecedented route in making this movie. Basically, in 2002 he started filming a story about a young boy and his family. He cast six year old Ellar Coltrane in the lead role, along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents, and would film scenes for a few days each year with them. Here now, he’s got a completed flick that depicts Coltrane growing up literally onscreen into an 18 year old. He transforms from a boy into a young man, coming of age in all the ways a kid normally will. It’s amazing that nothing went wrong and Linklater was able to achieve what he set out to do. What’s more, apparently he’s made something that a few of my colleagues at Sundance called his masterpiece.

It clearly remains to be seen if the Academy will embrace the work, but the initial reviews suggest that it’s worthy. A near three hour character study in which part of the power of the tale comes in knowing its backstory isn’t usually an easy sell to Oscar voters, but my fellow critics have already begun to rally behind it. At the very least, it should be in contention early for a number of categories, though a lot will depend on how the rest of the year goes. At the very least, currently it’s impossible not to be really excited to see the final product when it comes out this summer.

Below you can see the trailer for Boyhood, which should make you pretty much obsessed with seeing it as soon as possible. I know that’s how I responded. Anyway, take a look at it now:

Stay tuned for more on Boyhood soon!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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