Coltrane, who will turn 20 in August, has spent almost all his life here in “keep it weird” Austin — mostly home-schooled except for three years of high school, followed by a GED; landscaping work for his stepfather; photography and painting in the trippy vein of Alex Grey; and the slow-burn emotional time bomb of a movie formerly known as “The 12-Year Project.” Linklater’s deep-focus, pseudo-vérité coming-of-age story was designed to capture a fictional family in messy real time — the mutable boy, Mason (Coltrane); his straight-A sister, Samantha (Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei); and their divorced parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette). Every year before the usually four-day-long shoot, Linklater would hold a week of rehearsals, dinners, and collaborative rewrites — a process also used in Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. Hawke, who was in those too, compares it to the improv-plus rewriting approach of Mike Leigh. “We all used this fictional family as a crucible,” he says, “in which to pour our collective thoughts on growing up.”

But Linklater’s film isn’t just an aesthetic gambit. It’s also a psychological experiment, absorbing the personalities and dramas of its stars and, 12 years later, showing them — and then the world — a fictional doppelgänger of their lives.  –

  • Review/overviews at the New York Times and at The Guardian.
  • Dissenting view from all the adulation here.
  • BTS is here, with interesting tech notes about how to maintain a consistent look over 12 years of filming.
  • I’ve always wondered how/when they did the ADR/looping since the kids’ voices were certainly changing. Different versions of how they handled that are here and here and here.