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Is Linklater's 'Boyhood' the Most Radically Inventive Film Experience of the Year? (CLIP)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! July 9, 2014 at 4:14PM

Richard Linklater's new film "Boyhood," at almost three hours, overflows with beauty, truth, ingenuity, humanity and tenderness, and it firmly places the director in the pantheon of cinema's great auteurs. The entire early life of Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane), through childhood and into his first day of college, is compressed into an intimate epic as fresh and thrillingly alive as Francois Truffaut's Antoine Doinel, who was chiseled in five discrete films beginning with "The 400 Blows." "Boyhood" is just as revolutionary.
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Coltrane and Hawke in 'Boyhood'
Coltrane and Hawke in 'Boyhood'

Richard Linklater's new film "Boyhood," at almost three hours, overflows with beauty, truth, ingenuity, humanity and tenderness, and it firmly places the director in the pantheon of cinema's great auteurs. The entire early life of Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane), through childhood and into his first day of college, is compressed into an intimate epic as fresh and thrillingly alive as Francois Truffaut's films of Antoine Doinel, who was wrought in five movies beginning with "The 400 Blows." "Boyhood" is but one movie, and it's just as subversive.

Shot a few days a year across 12 years with the same cast, "Boyhood" also bursts with Linklater's love of his native Texas -- the film's setting -- as well as two career-topping performances from Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's estranged but decent and good parents. Linklater manages to not only make his cinematic trickery transparent, favoring character over conceit, he effortlessly eludes all the cliches and sentimental excess of the Kuntslerroman: few words of wisdom, even fewer prophetic speeches, no cheesy high school graduation sequence or overwrought divorce melodrama or first kiss. This film lives and breathes the rhythms of everyday reality. And it's a heart-crushing, shimmering work of art.

IFC Films is opening this possible awards season contender this Friday, July 11, smack dab in the heat of summer, in select cities before a nationwide rollout. Watch our exclusive video interview with Hawke, Arquette and cutie-pie Coltrane here. Our SXSW rave review is here. If you're lucky enough to be in LA this weekend, Hawke and Arquette will be making the rounds with Q&As.

In anticipation, read BuzzFeed scribe (and former Indiewire staffer) Alison Willmore's time-spanning survey of the film's three stars. Plus, watch a new clip below, in which Hawke is trying to do his very best as a father nervously back in the orbit of his two children. 

Also read NY Mag's illuminating interview with Richard Linklater, who, in recent years especially, from "Bernie" to the "Before" trilogy and now "Boyhood," has shed his Austin hipsterdom for a new brand of humanistic filmmaking.

This article is related to: Boyhood, Richard Linklater, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Video


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.