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"Let's face it, most of our lives don't really warrant all the attention and resources that would be required to make a movie about us," Linklater says. But Boyhood became doubly personal -- the same way that we can look at a snapshot and remember our lives at the moment we hit the button, he sees himself in every scene, both where he was when he was Mason's age, and where he was in 2002, 2007, or 2013, when he called action. To Linklater, his own biography is unspooling behind the camera, while we only see the collaborative parts he's willing to show.

Boyhood is reality folding into fiction and then twisting back into truth, starring Linklater's own family and actors who would grow to feel like relatives. Especially Hawke, who after the three-film Before Sunrise series, itself an elongated exercise in storytelling, is practically blood.

Eller Coltrane at age 7.
Matt Lankes
Eller Coltrane at age 7.
Eller Coltrane at age 18.
Matt Lankes
Eller Coltrane at age 18.

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"The whole movie feels like a home movie," Linklater says. "I think it'll be a full year before I process that we're not shooting again."

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