Back in May of 2002, director Richard Linklater started shooting "Boyhood," a coming-of-age film which chronicles the life of a boy (played alone by actor Ellar Coltrane) between the ages of 6 and 18 — a production timeline of 12 years. Such an unprecedented project/experiment not only required immense vision and planning, but also a willing cast, production team and a studio with lots of patience.
"Telling a longform story is such a simple and obvious idea. And yet you think, well, why hasn’t anyone done it? Because it makes no sense,” Linklater told Variety earlier this year. "It never did make sense on paper, and it still doesn’t. Artists get it. Businesspeople glaze over. They’re like, ‘You’re asking me to give money, and I’m not going to see a return for 12 years?’"
For IFC, the studio who funded "Boyhood" to the tune of $200,000 per year (a modest $2.4 million total), that gamble is paying off with top honors from film critics. The latest accolade came last night from the LA Film Critics Association, which named "Boyhood" the best picture of 2014 — a nod that follows similar honors from The Boston Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle.
"What Rick is doing with this movie has been done in literature a lot," actor Ethan Hawke, who plays a divorced father in the film, told CBS News. "But it hasn't really been done in a movie, and you get the chance to really watch a family develop over the course of a decade, and it's a powerful tool."
All of these awards build decent momentum for "Boyhood" as a Best Picture contender at this year's Oscars — a likely lock reflected by its incredible 99 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As someone who was absolutely blown away by what Linklater brought to the screen (it's more than a little bit incredible to watch all of these actors age over a 12-year timeline), I can say that for the Academy not to honor such a creative and unique film with at least a nomination would fly in the face of everything it represents.
Critic Sam Bathe sums it up best saying: "'Boyhood' is totally unique, powerful, absorbing, life-affirming, a tear-jerker, and it’ll stay with you for weeks after you see it. The second the credits roll you’ll want to queue up to see it again, and that’s the highest praise you can ever give a movie."
Check out the trailer below — and by all means, go see this movie.