12 Years of Boyhood

By Leslie C. Halpern

I saw Richard Linklater’s nearly three-hour dramatic film, Boyhood, recently and was stuck by the commitment of the director and the four principal actors (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelei Linklater). It’s a movie about moments — many moments during a 12-year period — that comprise the journey from boy to man. The film explores one family during this time as it struggles with divorces and blending of new family members. This unique film was shot over 12 years in Texas, and the cast reunited each year for three-to-four days of shooting (and catching up, no doubt).

All this focus on time, development, change, and maturation, made me wonder: What else can happen in 12 years? Thanks to an afternoon of Internet research, I found some answers.BOYHOOD_finalposter

  • The release of 12 Years a Slave in 2013 forced Linklater to change the name of his film to Boyhood from his planned title of “12 Years” to avoid confusion between the two movies. Based on a memoir, 12 Years a Slave reveals how a free man lived 12 years enslaved to cruel plantation owners before returning to his previous life as a free man.
  • It takes an average of 12 years in the United States for an experimental drug to advance from preclinical testing to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug available in stores.
  • The life span for the average cat, camel, moose, and sheep is 12 years, with the average domestic dog living just one year more.
  • Known as Sheng Xiao, The Chinese Zodiac is based on a twelve year cycle, with each year in the cycle related to an animal sign. Calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, these animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
  • It takes just under 12 years (11.86 Earth years) for Jupiter to orbit the sun. This translates into 4,332 days.
  • Twelve is often considered a magic number with 12 months in the year and 12 signs of the zodiac.

Well, the number 12 appears to be the lucky number for Richard Linklater, anyway. He’s been receiving awards since the film first started the festival circuit. These awards include Louis Black “Lone Star” Award Recipient (2014 SXSW Film Festival); Silver Bear Best Director Recipient (2014 Berlin International Film Festival); Founder’s Directing Award Recipient (2014 San Francisco International Film Festival); and Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Patricia Arquette) Recipient (2014 Seattle International Film Festival).

More awards are likely as word spreads about Boyhood, a beautiful and important film.

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