In Act 4 of King Lear, the nobleman Gloucester asks to kiss the king’s hand. And the king, broken, banished, half-crazed with grief replies: Let me wipe it first. It smells of mortality.
The beauty of Boyhood is that it smells of mortality. The film follows the life of a boy named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, from 6 to 18. The masterstroke is that both Masons are the same actor. Starting in 2002, director and writer Richard Linklater, gathered his four lead actors each year for a three to four day shoot. Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Linklater’s daughter Lorelei Linklater improvised and worked on the script as the years went by. The result is a film that is deeply moving and genuinely profound. I laughed, cried and emerged from the theater wiser.