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January 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which took the director 12 years to film, is receiving arguably the strongest reviews thus far at the Sundance Film Festival. While the movie was scripted, it was shot for just a few days each year, so we see the characters age in real time. The principal character, played by Ellar Coltrane, is six years old at the beginning of the movie and heading for college at 18 at the end. Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times observed, “It’s not a stretch to say that there are few films ever made like Boyhood, or that there is a very small chance any like it would be made again.” Variety‘s Peter Debruge agrees that the movie represents an “unprecedented experiment in long-term storytelling.” (From a trade point-of-view, he notes that “Critical support, coupled with audiences’ natural curiosity about the stunt, should translate to reasonable business for this brave IFC-backed project.” Ben Fritz in the Wall Street Journal concludes that “the stunt” pays off. “By capturing his life only in annual flashes, the philosophical Boyhood suggests that the long arc of life can be perhaps better understood as a series of moments rather than an uninterrupted flow,” he writes. “What an astonishing achievement; what a beautiful movie,” comments Xan Brooks in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, acknowledging at the end of his review that Boyhood “is far and away the best film I’ve seen at Sundance. It’s lovingly assembled and acted with such grace and ease that it scarcely looks like acting at all. Midway through the film, I found myself wondering whether I’d ever seen anything remotely resembling it before. Except that of course I have; we all have. Simply look at your own family.”