12 Years a Boy
Richard Linklater’s magnificent opus about the life of Mason played by Ellar Coltrane (cool surname), from 5 to 18 years old and his sister, Samantha, played by the director’s daughter, Lorelei Linklater took 12 years to film.
This remarkable coming of age drama is an incredibly successful experiment and such a joy to watch, at 165 minutes it never feels long, drawn out or filled with exposition. Linklater elicits wonderful performances from all involved and creates many beautiful moments. He filmed once or twice a year for 12 years and had a script that he kept malleable as he re-watched the previous years’ footage and utilised the actor’s changes and life lessons to inform and add to the constantly adaptable script.
It’s such a unique experience watching the children growing up during the duration of the film and what a joy it is. Already placing on critics ‘best of the year’ lists, this is well deserving of any awards that are and will come its way.
This is his most personal film being loosely based on his own experiences as a child and this comes through with bucketloads of charm and moments of truth and humanity. Starring his long-time collaborator, Ethan Hawke and with Patricia Arquette as Mason and Sam’s father and mother giving honest, truthful performances, Linklater had asked Hawke to take over filming if he died during the period.
Linklater is one of the most interesting directors working today, from his debut with Slacker through Dazed and Confused, School of Rock to the Before trilogy, he has shown himself to be an artist of incredible talent, consistent and constantly creating works of merit and mastery.
A must see.