If you don’t have plans to go see Boyhood, the Richard Linklater-directed movie that everyone and their grandma is raving about, then you don’t care about your own happiness. And I say that in all seriousness, because this is one of the most well-executed and mind-blowing movies I’ve seen in a good while. You get to watch as both the character of Mason and the actual human playing him, Ellar Coltrane, grow up right before your eyes. And it is so cool.
It’s fantastic that the movie itself is written and cast incredibly well. But it’s even better that we’re privy to everything from his drastic haircuts in childhood, to his first pubescent voice cracks, to his burgeoning adulthood marked by the trading in of cherubic cheeks for mature facial hair. And we get to watch similar things happen to all of the supporting actors and actresses over the years, because time hasn’t stopped for them either! (With the exception of Ethan Hawke, who plays Mason’s biological father in the movie and Person Who Refuses To Age in real life.) It’s both the most seamless and most no-nonsense fusion of reality and fiction that I’ve ever seen onscreen.
Actually, the closest I’ve gotten to this sort of experience was watching famous people grow up on long-running shows and movie series. Watching these 12 celebrities morph over time while still playing the same characters wasn’t as cool as it was to watch Ellar do it all in the same damn movie. But ya know, it was pretty close.
1. Miley Cyrus
The Show: Hannah Montana (2006-2011)
Miley started this show when she was just a 14-year-old girl who still had mud from the farm on her boots and a little Texas in her voice. How crazy is that? Now she’s taking her own 14-year-old sister out clubbing and has tragically forgotten how to spell the word “friends”.
2. Candace Cameron-Bure
The Show: Full House (1987-1995)
If DJ Tanner wasn’t your Puberty Icon then you either didn’t watch TV (heeey, Alexis!) or you are lying to me. Because even I, who didn’t hit puberty until after this show had finished, watched re-runs and worried over boys not liking me with DJ.
3. The Harry Potter Trio
The Movie: Harry Potter and the [Insert Magical Name Here] (2001-2011)
Ahh, the actual three best friends that anyone could have. And we got to watch them grow from little tater tots to… full grown English french fries. (That analogy was going somewhere, I swear.)
4. Mila Kunis
The Show: That 70s Show (1998-2006)
Fun fact: Mila was 14 years old when she booked the role of Jackie, which was only allowed to go down because she had told the casting directors a little white lie. It was along the lines of “I’ll be 18 on my birthday” and never specified that she meant the birthday 3 years away.
5. Dylan & Cole Sprouse
The Show(s): The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, On Deck, and Movie (2005-2011)
Pre-scandalous photo leaks, these boys toiled their days away on one Disney studio set after another, culminating in a 6-year span of them playing the same set of twins. Crazy!
6. Jaleel White
The Show: Family Matters (1989-1998)
Somehow, Jaleel managed to keep that grating Urkel voice that we all know and love/hate, despite having gone through puberty during the show’s filming.
7. Nolan Gould
The Show: Modern Family (2009-Present)
This one is very jarring for me, because it legitimately feels like at the end of one season, Nolan was 5 years old and at the beginning of the next, he was 15.
8. Maisie Williams
The Show: Game of Thrones (2011-Present)
Maisie, who plays Arya Stark on the show, is now 17 years old, but she was just a wee 13-year-old when the show first came on the scene. Time flies.
9. Jennette McCurdy
The Show(s): iCarly and Sam & Cat (2007-2014)
At just 22 years old, Jennette can say that she played the same character for 7 whole years, after having gotten a spin-off with Ariana Grande for their Nickelodeon characters Sam Puckett and Cat Valentine. Too bad it got cancelled, but don’t say it’s because of those nudes of Jennette that got leaked, because they’ll be denying that one until the end of time.
Boyhood hits US theaters today. Remember, if you want to be a happy person, you’ll go watch it.