A full dozen years to shoot a movie. Patricia Arquette was talking with Mo Rocca on “CBS Sunday Morning” about the experience of playing the mom on “Boyhood,” and she admitted it certainly wasn’t business as usual, working with director Richard Linklater and his special cast.
The veteran actress couldn’t keep the smile from her familiar face and voice. Sure, she was nominated for best actress for her sweeping role as a mom who does much growing up with her two kids. And yes, Linklater’s 2-hour, 45-minute epic was nominated for best picture.
But you could tell it was more than potential awards that won Arquette over. When she started working at the start with first-time actors Ellar Coltrane, who played 5-year-old Mason, and Lorelei Linklater, his couple-years-senior sister, they were just kids. And writer and director Linklater, Lorelei’s father, Arquette told interviewer Roca with respect and some surprise still in her voice, would drop the two children off at her house on a Friday and leave them with her the whole weekend. Even when not shooting scenes. So they could bond.
Yeah, it worked.
Texas native Linklater is great at coming-of-age movies most certainly — “Dazed and Confused” of 1993 was a rock ‘n’ roller of a certain generation’s classic, and “School of Rock” with Jack Black and all those instrument-wielding kids in 2003 is not to be forgotten. He’s adept at spanning generations, as fans of “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” will boast of the 1993, 2004 and 2013 triad.
Put those together … shake and stir.
I bought the Blu-Ray and popped it in Saturday night, wanting to see how “Boyhood” stood up to this unique approach.
To watch Ellar Coltrane as Mason grow from a wide-eyed kid to a seriously cynical college freshman was heart-wrenching. To observe he and Lorelei Linklater as sister Samantha fight and scream as little kids and circle their wagons against evil stepfathers and think — and hope — they know more than they do through high school was invigorating. To consider Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the divorced couple who can’t live with each other but can’t do without these kids they brought into the world and thus shower them with love the best ways they can manage was liberating.
It’s a human story. There are high points and low points and happy times and sad times.
Linklater has squeezed a whole lot of realistic life into “Boyhood.” He made the most of the luxury of not having to make up his cast to look older or younger, to flash back or ahead in a timeline. “Boyhood” the story and all of its characters age organically, from Point A to Point B.
It’s a masterful work.