Metascore
100

Universal acclaim - based on 49 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 49
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 49
  3. Negative: 0 out of 49
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 7, 2014
    100
    The greatest movies, the ones that stick with us, are those that hold up a mirror to the human condition and reflect something back at us that we too often manage to overlook. Boyhood is one of those movies, and with it Linklater proves he is among the best practitioners of that art.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 31, 2014
    100
    The film would be incalculably different if the lead role had been divided between two or three young actors for a conventional shoot. But Linklater’s patience allows us to see a thoughtful personality being formed both on and off the screen.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    A home movie of a fictional home life, an epic assembled from vignettes, Boyhood shimmers with unforced reality. It shows how an ordinary life can be reflected in an extraordinary movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    I'm as reluctant to stop writing about this movie as I was to stop watching it: At 166 minutes, it flies by, and you don't want to leave that world. But one thing is certain: This isn't the last word. People will be writing about this film for years - and looking at it to discover the lost history of our time.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    Is it dumb to say, "Wow?"...I don't care. Wow.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    This bold movie may sound like a stunt, but it’s so much more than that. Linklater is an effortless, genial auteur, and his passions are woven through “Dazed and Confused,” “School of Rock” and the “Before Sunrise” trilogy. Here, his mellow groove becomes an everyday rhythm.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    In its own quiet way, it’s a world of marvels.
  8. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Jul 25, 2014
    100
    The revelation is Arquette. While the focus is on Coltrane and how he grew up onscreen, it's Arquette that's at the center of this incredible journey. She puts herself out there year after year, getting knocked down and getting up stronger. Her final scenes have the power and heartbreak every parent knows -- it's all about holding a child's hand, then letting it go.
  9. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 24, 2014
    100
    The good news is you’re feeling stuff, you know? And you’ve got to hold on to that. You get older, and you don’t feel as much, your skin gets tough.” This remarkable, wonderful movie helps you remember.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 18, 2014
    100
    It’s the ultimate time-travel movie into the future, a “flowing time sculpture,” in Linklater’s own words.
  11. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    Linklater’s film is very much its own hybrid creature. While the dramatic scaffolding is lightly drawn, it becomes apparent that Linklater has organized his material along certain themes, most notably that of the passage of time and the dream life of childhood.
  12. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    Once in a great while I see a movie I know I’ll be listing as one of my all-time favorites for the rest of my days. So it is with this remarkable, unforgettable, elegant epic that is about one family — and millions of families. It’s a pinpoint-specific and yet universal story.
  13. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, Boyhood isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.
  14. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    Boyhood is not just a great movie, it's a landmark achievement in film.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    Boyhood is a stunt, an epic, a home video, and a benediction. It reminds us of what movies could be and — far more important — what life actually is.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    In completing this simple, beautiful project Linklater took his time. And he rewards ours.
  17. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 16, 2014
    100
    Linklater’s newest film, a true masterwork, eschews this big-bang theory of dramatics in favor of the million-and-one little things that accumulate daily and help shape who we are, and who we will become.
  18. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Jul 11, 2014
    100
    It seems almost odd to talk of performances when they're as natural and unforced as they are in Boyhood, but they're fascinating, with the adults nearly as physically altered by time as the kids.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jul 11, 2014
    100
    I love how Boyhood admits that, in certain ways, growing up stinks. Every character has a least one moment in which they have to heed the advice of Corinthians and put away childish things. None of them like it.
  20. Reviewed by: Matt Glasby
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    Extraordinary in form, ‘ordinary’ in content, Boyhood is ambitious, intimate and unforgettable. It might just be the apex of Linklater’s life’s work.
  21. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    An extraordinarily intimate portrait of a life unfolding and an exceptional, unconventional film.
  22. 100
    Living with Mason and his parents over time you feel an intimacy, an empathy, a shared stake. I’m not saying Boyhood is the greatest film I’ve ever seen, but I’m thinking there’s my life before I saw it and my life now, and it’s different; I know movies can do something that just last week I didn’t. They can make time visible.
  23. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    Boyhood reimagines the coming-of-age film as family album, longitudinal character study, and collaborative artistic experiment — a mad risk that paid off in a movie that’s as transcendent as it is ordinary, just like life.
  24. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    One of the most extraordinary films in decades, this family drama is also one of the most ambitious in scope, having taken more than a decade to shoot. Yet it comes across as effortless and unassuming. Boyhood is an epic masterpiece that seems wholly unconcerned with trying to be one.
  25. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    On rare occasions a movie seems to channel the flow of real life. Boyhood is one of those occasions. In its ambition, which is matched by its execution, Richard Linklater's endearing epic is not only rare but unique.
  26. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    In Boyhood, Mr. Linklater’s masterpiece, he both captures moments in time and relinquishes them as he moves from year to year. He isn’t fighting time but embracing it in all its glorious and agonizingly fleeting beauty.
  27. Reviewed by: Ben Nicholson
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    Fortunately, Boyhood concludes on a note of such unbridled optimism, Linklater is defying you to leave the auditorium without a grin on your face. Indeed, few will after experiencing this astonishing cinematic treasure.
  28. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    Boyhood is more than a movie; it is a vibrant, living thing, and it is beautiful, and it is sad, and it is wise, and it is sprawling, and it is intimate, and it is painful, and it is more than any filmmaker could have intended, and, yes… when it comes to trying to capture truth in a way that cannot be argued or denied or even summarized… I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.
  29. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    There’s a cumulative power here that transcends any rough patches. Boyhood isn’t perfect, but it’s an astonishing, one-of-a-kind accomplishment—and further proof that Linklater is one of the most daring, ambitious filmmakers working today.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    Want to know what it's like to be in on the discovery of a new American classic. Check out Boyhood. Richard Linklater's coming-of-age tale is the best movie of the year, a four-star game-changer that earns its place in the cultural time capsule.
  31. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    Like Michael Apted in his "Seven Up!" documentary series, Linklater makes you feel as if you're watching a photograph as it develops in the darkroom.
  32. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 8, 2014
    100
    Boyhood had the curious effect of making me feel lost, uneasy, a little alone in the inexorable march forward — and also totally, emphatically alive.
  33. 100
    Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is an amazing achievement in telling an unremarkably remarkable life story.
  34. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    Jul 8, 2014
    100
    As he has throughout his career, from “Slacker” and “Dazed and Confused” to the lovely “Bernie” to the “Before” trilogy, Linklater proves himself as a filmmaker unconcerned with flash and dazzle but thoroughly compassionate and empathetic to a wide range of characters.
  35. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    Jul 7, 2014
    100
    Linklater’s beautiful film is an extraordinary achievement — tender, funny, wise and wistful, full of warmth and humanity.
  36. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    It's the selective but cumulative use of seemingly arbitrary but significant experiences that gives Boyhood its distinctive character and impressive weight.
  37. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    Unshakable, witty and deeply felt, the film will be paying emotional dividends for a long, long time.
  38. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    What an astonishing achievement; what a beautiful movie.
  39. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    It’s an astonishing achievement. Linklater and his cast, who helped refine the director’s script, perfectly execute how long it takes us to become the lead characters in our own lives, and how fumblingly the role is first assumed.
  40. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    Epic in scope yet unassuming throughout, Linklater's incredibly involving chronicle marks an unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling.
  41. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Mar 28, 2014
    95
    Like the best of fiction, it conveys greater truth about coming to terms with the world at large, and regardless of whether each individual scene is ultimately justified in its inclusion, the cumulative impact of seeing something resembling a life unfold over a mere two hours and forty minutes is overwhelming.
  42. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jul 14, 2014
    90
    The profuse pleasures of Boyhood spring not from amazement but from recognition — from saying, Yes, that’s true, and that feels right, or that’s how it was for me, too.
  43. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 9, 2014
    90
    If the movie is about any one idea in particular, it’s about how parents do their best to stay on top of how their children grow, by taking pictures and documenting the memorable occasions, only to learn too late that most of life happens between the posing.
  44. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 26, 2014
    90
    With Boyhood, Linklater has created an uncanny time capsule, inviting auds to relive their own upbringing through a series of artificial memories pressed like flowers between the pages of a family photo album.
  45. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 9, 2014
    88
    When it's over, the sense is one of deep satisfaction - of having gotten to know a family in a way few motion pictures allow.
  46. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 9, 2014
    88
    Linklater ambitiously shot his new effort over a period of 12 years with the same cast, showcasing what turns out to be an astonishing performance by newcomer Ellar Coltrane, who grows up from 6 to 18 before our eyes over the course of 164 minutes.
  47. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Jan 26, 2014
    83
    Warm, soulful, funny and quietly insightful, Boyhood shines in its engrossing, experiential understanding and it’s a special achievement that should be cherished and acknowledged.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 572 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 133
  2. Negative: 24 out of 133
  1. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    A boy enjoying pictures of women in swimwear with his friends. A boy being devastated after having his mane cut off. A boy debating the necessity of Facebook with his high school girlfriend. In all honesty, Boyhood is a rather apt title for this film. But it could just as well hold the name of another picture currently running in cinemas: Life Itself. That simple yet profound thing is what lies at the core of Richard Linklater’s unique 12-year-spanning story and makes it relatable for everyone, regardless of sex, age group, descent, social status, or character. Linklater lets his audience live through the fun and the pain, the love and the misery, and the excitement and the disappointment of his protagonist Mason with yet another wonderful screenplay in his repertoire and an unspectacular but still extraordinary way of directing. Leaving the cinema, it’s hard to grasp one has just spent the better part of an evening in front of a screen, but at the same time, there’s also a feeling of having relived your own adolescence along with Mason. Full Review »
  2. Jul 12, 2014
    5
    I'm utterly mystified by the unanimous raves for this movie by the professional critics. There are beats and performances to enjoy here, particularly those of the children cast in the roles of Mason Jr and his sister Samantha. And there is an innate fascination with watching a boy's face and body become that of a man that is captivating here. But the minute the adults around Mason Jr start speaking, I just felt like I wanted to leave the room. The parade of inappropriate (or downright terrifying) fathers that march through the story made me wonder at the miracle that young Mason would actually survive into adulthood at all. Had the brilliance of the concept been matched with a more invigorating and cliche-free screenplay, I too would have rewarded the movie with a 10. As is, it's hard to recommend even investing the 2 hours and 45 minutes it takes to wade through this particular boyhood. Full Review »
  3. Jul 13, 2014
    2
    You know what my favourite part of this film was besides some nice shots of Austin, a place I've visited? The beginning of the ending credits!

    Am I the only to have seen this film as overlong and full of repeated after school special scenarios? Two hours and forty-five minutes of shallow small talk mixed with one-liners one would likelier hear out of a pothead's mouth amounts to a combination of sitting in an Elizabethan torture chamber while watching the "Wonder Years". Except the Wonder Years had more creative plot lines.

    Am I the only one to think how emotionally balanced and level-head those kids were despite having a father who's insufferably loquacious and a mother who's just a plain miserable cow less than apologetically putting her children second? I like Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. I do not think they make the best sympathetic parents.

    Am I the only one to see the young Mason's lack of backbone and failure to stand up to the horrible adult role models his impressionable life? I'd like to think that a lot of kids would rebel, rather virulently and understandably I should add, at basically being brow-beaten and spiritually abused to death. It's just not real.

    No to Boyhood. No to all the adulation the movie has undeservedly received.
    Full Review »