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Rarely is an indie movie’s premiere considered an ‘event’; at least, not compared to premieres of major studio blockbusters released amidst massive marketing campaigns and publicity. But Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, opening this weekend, is an exception to this rule.
The film has received rave reviews since showing at Sundance this year and is currently 100% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes after 94 reviews. If those facts alone aren’t enough to peak your interest, though, perhaps the concept is.
Boyhood is a film that chronicles one young man’s journey from ages 6 to 18. That’s not too unique, but the approach to filming the story was: the movie was shot over the course of 12 years, filming 3 or 4 days each year.
The result has been astounding critics and audiences: the viewer gets to actually watch this family of four age and repeat the same cycles at different stages of their lives. Nothing quite like it has ever been done before, the closest attempt being Michael Apted’s 7 Up documentary series that re-visited the same subjects every seven years starting in 1964, documenting their progression from hopeful children to somewhat dreary adults. Boyhood, however, is no documentary; it’s pure cinema.
The effect of seeing time pass in this way can be as unsettling as it is epic. After watching Boyhood, some reviewers remarked upon how it feels to see someone age before your very eyes – reminding everyone that we’re “here today, gone tomorrow.” The film is a surprising 165 minutes long – however, in keeping with the theme of time slipping away, viewers seem to unanimously agree that those 2 hours and 45 minutes fly by.
All this interest surrounding Boyhood suggests it will do quite well at the box office. Only opening in 5 theaters this weekend (Lincoln Plaza, IFC Center, and BAM in NYC and Arclight and Landmark in LA), the film is expected to sell out at every showing, averaging a $50,000 intake for each theater. This is well above the $35,000 ceiling most indie films hit when it comes to theatrical releases. That’s great news for the film’s distributor, Jonathan Sehring of IFC Films, who has amazingly bankrolled the project from its start in 2002.
The film stars Ellar Coltrane as the central character, Mason, and Lorelei Linklater, the director’s own daughter, as his slightly older sister, Samantha. Ethan Hawke, who has notably worked with Linklater on the highly acclaimed Before trilogy, stars as Mason’s unreliable father, and Patricia Arquette rounds out the central cast playing Mason’s mother.
What do you think? Will Boyhood’s realism catapult it to further greatness this year? Or will it fail to live up to all the hype?
By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain