Movies that attempt to capture a natural progression of time are not unprecedented. Perhaps the finest example is Michael Apted's 7 Up series of documentaries, which follow the same people in seven year increments. A chronological year passed fluidly in Horikazu Koreeda's abandonment drama, Nobody Knows, and was largely successful at it. But what Richard Linklater has done with Boyhood, a film he shot over the course of twelve years with the same actors, is something truly extraordinary.
The first trailer for Boyhood has been replaced, an achievement in and of itself considering Linklater began the project way back in 2002. Starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, and Linklater's daughter Lorelai, the film spans twelve years in the life of a boy as he evolves into a man. Along the way he'll deal with family hardships, find first love, and overcome other personal obstacles that influence his future. Linklater shot the film in bits and pieces each year, and one of the most intriguing aspects is watching how each actor ages and improves in their performances.
It's a film I was impressed by at Sundance but perhaps not as much as others, saying that despite its technical and emotional achievements "there are periods that sag and lack in depth", while a "sense of true discovery is sorely missing" in the lead character's development.
Boyhood opens on July 11th.