Louis Black and Karen Bernstein’s Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny is a remarkable documentary and biography of one of the most acclaimed and innovative filmmakers working today. More of a tribute by Austinites to a hero from Austin Texas who made good and managed to claim success without sacrificing too much of his own artistic vision, Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny takes an interesting and new look at the work of one of my favorite directors working in film today. I’ve made no secret that Linklater is one of my personal film heroes and easily my favorite writer working in cinema right now, and I’ve found most of the documentaries and work surrounding his legacy and career to be absolutely entertaining and often times stimulating.
Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny opts more for the humility of the portrait of a very motivated man who found his outlet through writing and eventually found a way to tell his stories to through his own personal films. While the documentary works as an ode, it also doesn’t gloss over some of Linklater’s personal film failures, as well as examining some of his more offbeat choices in the past. To his credit, Linklater acknowledges what worked and what didn’t work, and why he chose to lens films like “The Bad News Bears” and how his films before he made “Slacker” were much more just experimental than actual films. On the flip side there are interesting peeks at his more daring cinematic endeavors, including “Waking Life,” and “Slacker,” and how films like the “Before” movie series meant a lot to its two stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
Hawke explains how the series gave his life definition during hard times, while Delpy holds no regret starring in the films, while her agent was pressuring her to star in “Rush Hour 3.” Director Black sits with Linklater going over old notes about his future films, and Linklater adds a new dimension to every one of his hit films, right down to “Dazed and Confused” which was supposed to be a time capsule about a generation facing adulthood, and was unfortunately mishandled and advertised as a stoner comedy by studios everywhere. Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny is a rich, fascinating, and engrossing look at the creative process of a truly stellar filmmaker and storyteller, and the people around him that revere him and understand him. All Linklater fans need apply.
Premiering nationwide on PBS (check local listings); it is also available to stream via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS OTT apps.