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One for the Ages

Richard Linklater’s latest tale of growing up took 12 years to film

Author Jacqueline Detwiler


Making a movie about childhood involves wading through a minefield of potential problems: Your actor ages too fast, or doesn’t age at all; his voice changes at the wrong time; or you end up using so many actors to represent the different time periods that you run smack into “the other Darrin problem.” This is what makes Boyhood, the latest from director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise), such an accomplishment. A coming-of-age story in which the main character (and actor) actually comes of age, his parents become old, and the world twists dizzyingly around him is so close to the actual experience of growing up that it spreads your own heart all over the screen. Shot over the course of 12 years as the protagonist—Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane (pictured above)—ages from seven to 18, the movie is as much a history of life in the United States as it is a portrait of Coltrane’s particular childhood. Bring tissues. — (July 14)

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