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

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

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.

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