Boyhood

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(2014) ★★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 19 June, 3.15pm and 9.35pm

From the age of six to 18, Ellar Coltrane experiences suburban Texas life with estranged parents Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, a few step-parents and his older sister Lorelei Linklater. Who’s the daughter of director Richard Linklater, who came up with the bright idea of filming this ‘family’ in fortnightly increments over the course of 12 years. So the cast ages in ‘real time’. When Boyhood premiered at Cannes, many critics reacted as though a unique form of cinema had been unleashed. Yet it’s a delayed reaction format long-ago utilised by Michael Apted in his ‘Up’ documentaries, which appeared in seven-year gaps from 1963 until the most recent, 56 Up in 2012. Another English film-maker, Michael Winterbottom tried much the same thing on a more modest scale with his dreary 2012 drama Everyday, filmed over a five-year period. François Truffaut, too, had his Antoine Doinel series. Compressed into three hours, Boyhood is an episodic time-lapse soap to follow the middlebrow soap of Linklater’s Before trilogy, in which Hawke and his co-star Julie Delpy were invited to improvise an on-off relationship revisited over a 20-year period. And it did seem a day too long. The years pass more quickly than the hours in Boyhood, which hits familiar domestic beats in a compendium of family album snapshots: meals, schools, sibling squabbles, drunken stepfathers, and more hairstyle changes than the average Premier league footballer. At the outset, sister Lorelei seems the livelier character, winding up Ellar and feigning injury. Her embarrassed reaction to a chat about condoms is very sweet. But, as the title suggests, this is Ellar’s story. And he seems like a nice enough kid. He has a good face, honest and open, although – in a distracting paradox – the taller he grows the more his features comes to resemble those of the actor Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones’ big dwarf hero. Without the beard. The oddest detour is a birthday visit to the home of his stepmother’s parents, who present the boy with a bible and a shotgun. Conspiracy theorists take note: apparently it never rains in Texas. Not while Linklater’s filming, at any rate. The only sound of water comes from the fountains at a zoo. Oh, and there’s a few tears. Not least when Patricia Arquette won her Oscar (the picture’s only award from six nominations). In a post-Oscars podcast, Linklater said he’s considering shooting a sequel, Boyhood: The College Years. Quite the franchise. Although we should remember this is also the director of Dazed and Confused and The School of Rock. He was probably joking.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 166min

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 20 June at 1:30PM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 20 June at 9:35PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 21 June at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 21 June at 7:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 22 June at 1:30PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 22 June at 9:35PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 23 June at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 23 June at 7:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 24 June at 1:30PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 24 June at 9:35PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 25 June at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 25 June at 7:00PM