Even devoted fans of filmmaker Richard Linklater might question the need for Louis Black and Karen Bernstein’s bio-doc Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny. Only in his mid-50s—and arguably at the peak of his career after the major awards and box office success of 2014’s Boyhood—the writer-director has so much work left to do that a retrospective feels premature. Also, Linklater has hardly ever been circumspect about how his own past has informed his films. He’s an articulate and gregarious interview subject and someone who’s drawn heavily from the details of his own life in his Slacker, Dazed And Confused, Before Sunrise, Waking Life, Boyhood, and Everybody Wants Some. In fact, there have already been two movies made about Linklater: 2014’s 21 Years(about his career up to Boyhood) and 2013’s Double Play (about his relationship with pioneering structuralist filmmaker James Benning). There wouldn’t seem to be much for a new documentary to say about him that hasn’t already been said.
But it helps that Black has known Linklater since his early days in Austin, when Black was the editor of the alt-weekly The Austin Chronicle and Linklater was making shorts and booking repertory programs with his friends in the Austin Film Society. Dream Is Destiny isn’t into mythologizing its subject. Throughout, the interviewees talk about how unassuming and even unimpressive Linklater can seem in person. They describe him as generally loose and mellow, with the habit of delegating so many tasks to his casts and crews that it can seem like they’re the ones who are really making his movies. Yet what’s on the screen—be it an experimental indie or a bigger-budgeted studio project—is always unmistakably in the voice of the director. The texture of real life, with its defining moments of wonder and awkwardness, has always been his forte.