In a new (and fittingly lengthy) “Boyhood” feature, Richard Linklater describes how he wound up embarking on his “12 year project.” “I was turning 40 and I had been a parent for 8 years,” he says. “I wanted to say something about childhood. The dilemma hit me: What part of childhood?” Never has indecision gone so, so right.
It”s almost impossible to separate the “making of” narrative behind “Boyhood” from its on-screen story. There”s a meta layer running through Linklater”s slice-of-life drama: We know what it took to accomplish this feat. “Boyhood” is basically the Ricky Jay magic trick of movies; The process is apparent, yet its cohesive writing and consistent performances perform a slight of hand trick to suck us in.
So if you”re like me and find yourself a little choked up watching home videos of Linklater, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelai Linklater working on set, feel completely justified. By the end of “Boyhood,” you”ve lived with these characters. Watching them reflect on life”s memories plays into that meta-narrative, all speaking to the notion of aging and growing.
OK, before things get too sappy, check out this “Boyhood” feature, which should temper any agitation over the current “Boyhood” critical sweep. Maybe the movie deserves all those Best Film of the Year wins after all? If Linklater had found a way to include Lorelai's rant against “Waking Life,” seen in the above, then the answer would be “absolutely.”