Richard Linklater

Actor Ethan Hawke calls Boyhood, which won best motion picture Sunday at the Golden Globes, an "experiment."

The fictional story takes place over the course of 12 years — and was shot over the course of 12 years. So without special makeup or prosthetics, audiences watch two children grow up and two adults age. Hawke plays Mason Sr., the children's father, and Patricia Arquette plays Olivia, the children's mother. They are divorced.

Ethan Hawke's roles have spanned the genres, from Shakespeare, to slacker comedy, to art house drama. So, naturally, he has many different types of fans. When Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg asked what people say when they approach him on the street, Hawke broke it down this way:

I had an uncle who studied dendrochronology – tree rings, basically. It wasn't until years after he died that it occurred to me how much his perspective on living, and on dying, seemed to have been shaped by years of handling such palpable evidence of time passing. Not the spectacle of canyons carved by glaciers or the eye-popping surprise of fossilized bones, but the way each tree out of millions had been marked by each year out of millions. You could look at the rings and tell when the climate was good, when there was a drought, when there was a fire.

Usually when characters age in movies, they're covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics — or directors use different actors as the characters grow older. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.

The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.

[Note: Before Midnight is an especially difficult movie to write about, simply because for some people, even what has become of Jesse and Celine since Before Sunset is information that they don't want. But it's impossible — absolutely impossible — to write about the movie without talking about where they stand and what the premise is. I did my absolute best to spoil as little beyond that as possible.

Pages