“Boyhood”: A movie that took 12 years to make, and worth every second

boyhood

“Boyhood” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 2:45, four stars out of four. Mad Film Forum will host a “Madfilm Meetup” at Sundance at 8 p.m., Tuesday, with a pre-party featuring cocktails and music at 6 p.m. at the theater’s Rooftop Bar.

You could rate Richard Linklater’s new film “Boyhood” strictly on degree of difficulty, like an Olympic dive. Linklater has been making “Boyhood” since 2001, visiting the same group of actors each summer, adding more scenes as they grew older.  Ellar Coltrane was six when he was hired to play young Mason  , Lorelei Linklater (Richard’s daughter) was eight. The film is built around Ellar, and Linklater had no way of knowing what kind of actor he’d grow up to be. Embarking on such a project was a tremendous leap of faith for all parties.

Or you can just look at the finished movie. By that standard, “Boyhood” is one of the best of the year, a funny, moving and realistic look at growing up, looking backwards and looking forward. It’s like a naturalistic, conversation-heavy response to Terence Malick’s ethereal “Tree of Life,” which also dealt with epic themes of childhood and parenthood in Texas.

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