To tell the story of a 6-year-old boy and his journey into young adulthood, Linklater and his cast shot the movie over the course of a dozen years, and the results can be glimpsed in the newly released trailer.
Ellar Coltrane, who was 7 when filming began, plays Mason, a dreamy grade-schooler dealing with his single mother's (Patricia Arquette) decision to move him and his sister (Lorelai Linklater, the filmmaker's daughter) to Houston, just as their long-absent father (Ethan Hawke) has returned from Alaska to rejoin their lives.
Hawke has described "Boyhood" as "human time-lapse photography," and the most striking thing about the trailer (which you can watch above) is watching Coltrane literally grow up, from a cherubic, bike-riding kid to a lanky, facial-hair-sporting teenager.
Along the way, he also goes through such quintessential rites of passage as bickering with his sister on a road trip, learning to ride a bike, ogling a ladies' underwear catalog, attending a baseball game, grappling with a new school, going to parties and kissing girls.
If the film covers familiar territory, it does so via entirely unconventional means, which the trailer repeatedly emphasizes. Intertitles throughout explain that "Boyhood" was shot over 12 years and quote from reviews declaring it a "once-in-a-lifetime" and "one-of-a-kind" movie.
With its highlight-reel approach and upbeat music ("Hero," by Family of the Year), the "Boyhod" trailer can't help but feel a bit sentimental in spots, but compressing a feature film down to a couple of minutes can be a challenge for any movie, let alone one with spanning more than a decade.
If the rave reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival in January are any indication, "Boyhood" is anything but run-of-the-mill. Moviegoers will have a chance to see for themselves when IFC releases it July 11.