Ellar Coltrane

Director Richard Linklater approached this decade-spanning project with a novelist’s ambition and patient determination. Reuniting with the same, small group of actors on an annual basis, he made a real coming-of-age story, focusing on six-year-old Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his estranged parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) and following them all until the boy enters his freshman year of college. The resulting film is necessarily episodic in nature but still unique in its rhythms: marriages and remarriages follow in quick succession; characters drop in and out of the story without warning; jump cuts swallow up a year’s worth of off-screen events in an instant. The narrative ebbs and flows easily, ratcheting up the drama to deal with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather and then spinning down again to depict father-and-son bull sessions and low-key teenage mischief. Continue reading