AFI Movie Club: BOYHOOD – American Film Institute
Boyhood Film Still - Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane



BOYHOOD, Richard Linklater’s unprecedented time-lapse portrait of a young boy coming of age, features stellar performances from newcomer Ellar Coltrane as well as Oscar® winner Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. The film was honored with an AFI AWARD in 2014 – recognizing it as one of the 10 outstanding films of the year. 

Watch the BOYHOOD team discuss what they want people to remember about their film.


DID YOU KNOW? BOYHOOD was shot over the course of 12 years from 2002 to 2013. 

DID YOU KNOW? The film was originally titled 12 YEARS. Director Richard Linklater changed the title to BOYHOOD to avoid confusion with the similarly titled 12 YEARS A SLAVE that had recently been released. 

DID YOU KNOW? Director Richard Linklater cast his daughter Lorelai to play the character of Samantha. 

DID YOU KNOW? None of the actors were contractually obligated to return to the film each year due to the De Havilland Law, which makes it illegal to contract employees for more than seven years of work. 

DID YOU KNOW? The scene in which Ethan Hawke gives his fictional son Mason the Black album – a compilation of solo material by members of The Beatles – was actually inspired by him giving the record to his daughter Maya for her 13th birthday. 

DID YOU KNOW? Linklater chose to shoot the whole film on 35mm film, despite technological advancements during the 12-year production. 

DID YOU KNOW? Linklater filmed eight other projects during the time it took him to complete BOYHOOD. 

DID YOU KNOW? BOYHOOD was nominated for a total of six Academy Awards®, and Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for her performance. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

Click Here to Find Out How to Watch BOYHOOD Now

BOYHOOD – Reelgood


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Discussion Questions

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  • How does Linklater use transitions to show time passing throughout BOYHOOD? 
  • How does the film shift perspectives between all of the different family members? 
  • Did the movie make you nostalgic for your own childhood? Does it make you reassess choices you made?  
  • What do you think the film achieved by using the same actors over a 12-year timespan rather than casting younger or older versions? 
  • Do you think that the film is an accurate representation of boyhood?  
  • What did you think of Patricia Arquette’s portrayal of a single mother searching for her own personal and professional fulfillment while raising her children? 
  • How did you think fact and fiction blurred together in the making of BOYHOOD over the course of 12 years? 
  • Do you believe that “you seize the moment or let the moment seize you”?  
  • How would you rate BOYHOOD? 


AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. See all of the titles programmed for AFI Movie Club here. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience. Learn more in our FAQ section.

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