[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Tim Brayton on Boyhood.]
Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-production epic follows one child from age 7 to 18, as he and his parents grow up in front of our eyes. There’s no readily apparent plot details beyond that -- unless you're reading spoilers from Sundance reviews -- but I’m hoping for robot vampires.
Director-producer-conceiver Linklater is joined by his ever-ready partner in long-form narrative, Ethan Hawke, as well as Patricia Arquette. Ellar Coltrane, in the longest-gestating breakthrough performance of all time, stars as the boy himself.
Why We Can’t Wait
The excellence of the every-nine-years entries in the Before… series have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Linklater has a unique gift for telling stories about the way that people’s lives, outlooks, and even personalities mature and evolve as the years go by. And if anything, the hook behind his newly-completed project is even more exciting: watching a child experience all the confusions and difficulties of adolescence in something like real time, the actor living through the same process of maturation as his character. To do justice to that kind of deeply human-scaled content would take a uniquely great director of actors and children, and luckily, in Linklater we have one of the best: his 2003 School of Rock features some of the very finest child acting in recent memory.
And if there was any doubt that the one-of-a-kind project was worth paying attention to, the absurdly glowing reviews out of Sundance would seal it. The "dissenting" views from the general chorus of raptures tend to be along the lines of "this unbelievably ambitious and sprawling and exciting project has some rough patches in the plot and a few scenes that don’t land". It would be worthy getting excited for what sounds like the most singular, game-changing film of the year based on the buzz alone, but for those of us who’ve been patiently following along with the film’s production since Before Sunrise was a standalone, the great reviews are merely the capstone to a generation’s worth of anticipation.
But We Do Have To Wait
Well, not everybody – Nathaniel caught it at Sundance. The rest of us will have to wait until confirmed distributor IFC picks a release date; May worked well for Linklater and Hawke’s Before Midnight last year, and rumors are that the same timeframe is likely for this one.