PELHAM, N.Y. -- The packed main theatre of the Pelham Picture House was transformed into a time machine Wednesday night, July 9, for the Westchester debut of the movie "Boyhood," which follows a 6-year-old boy through his tumultuous yet pointedly realistic childhood and adolescence.
The movie, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater, travels effortlessly through time using the same actors across 12 years. Ellar Coltrane, who plays the main protagonist, Mason, began the project at age 6 and followed through to its conclusion after he turned 18.
The audience watched as both Coltrane and Mason grew physically and personally. Dealing with a realistic cocktail of heavy issues such as divorce and domestic abuse, mixed with lighter issues like peer pressure and dating, Mason navigates life with a seemingly blasé but keen observance of the world around him.
After the movie, critic-in-residence Marshall Fine held a Q&A with one of the film's producer, John Sloss. Several audience members asked questions about the film, so much so the discussion had to be cut short.
Sloss shed some light on the filming process, including how the actors, especially the children, were able to stay engaged and committed over 12 years.
Sloss said the film was shot for just four days each year, but that didn't stop Lorelei Linklater, Richard's daughter who played Mason's sister Samantha, from asking to be killed off.
"That wasn't quite the direction we wanted to go with the film," Sloss joked.
As Coltrane grew in age, Linklater tweaked the script to include some of his real personality and interests, most notably, photography.
He emphasized Linklater's desire to show a realistic depiction of life, exempt from the unnecessary dramatics that plague movies today.
"People kept waiting for a big bad thing to happen, and it never did," Fine said.
Linklater also used key points in history sparingly across the film to serve as influential anchors for the attitudes of Mason and his parents (played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). These include the advent of Harry Potter; the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; Barack Obama's presidential run; and the Iraq War.
Sloss shared an interesting anecdote about a scene where Mason's father is posting campaign signs for Obama's first presidential race, receiving mixed reactions from neighbors.
He noted that the scene was filmed before Obama was elected.
"Boyhood" is set for a nationwide release on Friday, July 18.