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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 491 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 64 out of 491

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  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. Expand
  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. Expand
  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.
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  4. Jul 14, 2014
    0
    I am absolutely shocked by all of the great reviews. Maybe my expectations were too high but I mean the critics loved it and praised it like it was the best movie of all time, when it really is a waste of time.
  5. Aug 8, 2014
    0
    3 hours of inept, masturbatory navel-gazing. A one-trick-pony of a movie so intent on patting its own back over how much critics will be baited into loving its "bold experimentation" that it forgot to be a film ABOUT anything. I never imagined something that took so much time and energy to make could appear so lazy and ill-conceived on screen.

    Ignore the undeserved praise. Just because
    it took 12 years to make doesn't mean it's any good. Don't encourage these people and give this a pass. Expand
  6. Jul 13, 2014
    7
    I was expecting a sort of emotional roller coaster with moments of empathy, sadness, joy, etc. -- having gone through real-life boyhood myself -- but rarely did this film evoke that kind of personal attachment and investment for me.
    Esquire has a Q&A with Linklater and Hawk in their latest issue, and in it they claim to have made a conscious effort to avoid cliches, but somehow they
    landed on a bunch of them anyway.
    There are a few great moments, and generally very few missteps, but ultimately this film does not reach the upper echelons of movie lore. It's good, not great.
    In short, I was expecting to cry. I had the box of tissues ready. Never came close.
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  7. Jul 18, 2014
    6
    An ambitious, inventive undertaking that, unfortunately, doesn't live up to its hype. The film's novel approach isn't enough to overcome its episodic nature and its pedestrian performance by a dull, insipid protagonist surrounded by an array of characters far more interesting than he is. The insights it offers come too few and far between and aren't especially revelatory when they do. All in all, an underwhelming effort that leans a little too heavily on its own self-congratulatory nature. Expand
  8. Jul 12, 2014
    10
    For whatever reason, nuanced observations about the particularities of growing up in this generation has never really been captured honestly in modern film. Thankfully, Richard Linklater had been working on an entire film of it for twelve years.

    And although the approach of how this film was meticulously crafted makes for an intriguing initial selling point, it's about the furthest
    thing from your mind when watching BOYHOOD. What the method actually achieves is a richness of detail and passion that, in any given moment, can evoke melancholy, longing, love, laughter, regret, tears, smiles, and any other of the multitudes of words that come to mind in the experience of youth, and in reflection upon it. One doesn't even need to have grown up in a similar setting or time frame to Mason, our unsuspecting hero here. Regardless of the context of any of these characters' actions, it all feels like it's coming from a place of familiarity. Little looks, lines or cues will trigger your own achingly personal memories of the past — a fleeting time you wish you could do over again but would make the experience less beautiful. This is the most thorough immersion into another life seen in cinema since Satyajit Ray's APU TRILOGY (to me, the finest cinematic achievement in history).

    Through Mason's eyes, you can see plenty happening in the stories of girlhood, motherhood, and fatherhood unfolding around him. Patricia Arquette gives the marquee performance of the film as the young mother who grows away from the father of her children and takes on a string of abusive husbands as she tries to make life better for children. It's a common story for a lot of single mothers in this country in this day and age, but it's rare to see ANY female role of this depth and magnitude. It also bears mentioning that any of the narrative elements throughout the film that seem even perhaps OVERLY familiar — divorce, alcoholic father-figures, conservative stereotypes, peer pressure, whatever — have the effect in this film of only showcasing its sincerity more. There's a reason these elements are seen as cliche, and BOYHOOD does a remarkable job at grounding what are common American experiences in sense of truthfulness.

    I give this film five stars, rather easily, although I don't consider it a film without flaws. I think it was perfectly possible to trim the film a bit more, Mason himself is less likable in his later years and some scenes just worked for me better than others. But the film earns my full heart as all these things are in the service of a greater great. It's the intricate collection of 12 years of memories in carefully curated scenes, good and bad, happy or sad, significant or insignificant, that paint a picture of a life in a way. It's scattered, it's varied, it's precisely how we look at and feel our own lives over time and Richard Linklater has gotten closer to that in this film than any other filmmaker to date.
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  9. Jul 28, 2014
    3
    The movie is complete and utter waste of time. I truly feel sorry for the actors that dedicated 12 years of their life filming such a **** and boring movie. However, they should also be commemorated because this movie may be the cure to insomnia,its that slow. Some may argue that slow and steady wins the race,and the only way that could be true for this movie was competing for the **** movie of all time. The fact that 'boyhood' has such good reviews blows my mind, but i figured out why this is so. Reviewers feel so terrible that this **** movie took 12 whole years to make they all decided to throw a pity party and hand out 10's.n Expand
  10. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    Brilliant film everything you read or here about this film is true and so much more i am not even going to say anything about it just needed to give it at 10 and to say go and see it you will love it .
  11. Aug 5, 2014
    5
    Okay I may be in the vast minority in this one but I feel Boyhood is tremendously overrated. It's not, by any means, a bad film, just not nearly as good as most critics claim it is. The problem I have with this film is its glaring lack of substance. There is not a single character in this film that goes through some kind of character arc. The minor changes they undergo are left obscure and there are no hints as to what brought about those changes. None of the characters are likable. The entire film almost is a passive observation of this family's uneventful progression through the years. Although that worked very well in the first half of the movie the second half seemed superfluous. It brings back some of the most overused cliches (honestly if I had a nickel for every time a movie showed the divorced dad as cool and buff and the divorced mother as the complete opposite). The kid actors are great but as they age they seem less and less convincing. The dialogue as well suffers from cranky and mawkish moments. And on top of all that it lacks lacks a narrative structure. If you look at the Tree of Life, which is just as unstructured, Malick took advantage of that and turned it into a meditation on human behavior. Boyhood didn't even attempt to achieve anything of the sort. Tree of Life was poetry; Boyhood is just product. All the reviews I've read so far seem to be obsessed with the concept of the film rather than the final result. To me, Boyhood is yet another film that didn't come close to justifying its overblown hype. Expand
  12. Jul 14, 2014
    7
    This film didn't really live up to the critics reviews for me. Its a great concept and parts of the film are interesting but it just went on, and on, and on. You can draw parallels with your own experiences in places, but for the most part is a pretty uneventful story apart from a few key scenes.

    For me the concept would have worked much better if it followed an actual family, and
    recorded their moments rather than being a series of set pieces played by actors, some of which you can relate to in your own life and those of your children and your parents. Its a great concept and an interesting film, but I thought it didn't really live up to the wide acclaim the film has been given. Expand
  13. Aug 1, 2014
    6
    What has brought a lot of attention to “Boyhood” is the fact that the director/writer Richard Linklater took 39 days in 12 years to film this picture. He used the same boy, Ellar Coltrane, same girl, Lorelei Link later (yes, the director’s daughter) plus the main adult actors such as Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as Coltrane’s divorced parents. The film is fiction covering a period of time from when Coltrane was 6-7 and Linklater was a couple of years older until we see the latter off at college and Coltrane, at 18, graduating from high school and he too is going off to college. We watch these two children grow into adults, physically, as they did in real life. Whether the same technique was used with Hawke and Arquette is hard to tell as they were/at the age actors don’t change too much physically.

    The story is linear as we see Mason (Coltrane) going through life in Texas much as boys have grown all time. Samantha (Linklater) goes through her rebellious period, pink hair anybody?, and we too watch her grow up but the picture concentrates on her brother. Dad (Hawke) and Mom (Arquette) get divorced when the children are young and Mom keeps choosing wrong men though she is smart enough to go back to school, gets her degree and finds an excellent job as a college teacher. Dad goes though a period of not knowing who he is and what he wants and becomes a weekend Dad who spoils the kids and is the ‘fun’ parent while Mom is the stern, disciplining one. There is no doubt that both parents love their children.

    It has been two hours since I left this film that is 2 hours and 40 minutes long and I still don’t know whether I like it or not but I am still thinking about it. Hawke and Arquette are as professional and good as you would expect with Hawke giving one of his best performances on film. None of the supporting cast makes a false step. It is watching Coltrane and Linklater as they grow that is spellbinding and the director took a chance not knowing if they could act expressing their changes over 12 years but he certainly can be proud of his daughter’s performance and Coltrane is a natural actor.

    I think parents who have had teenagers, and watched them grow, will appreciate this movie more than a childless person but the latter will find this movie different from the run of movies about teenagers and the evolution of Samantha and Mason from children to adults.

    This is a work director/screenplay writer Richard Linklater should be proud of and will be very involved with awards time.
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  14. Aug 9, 2014
    2
    A more apt title is: Boy, Hoodwinked. Once again I fell victim to universal critical praise for a movie that's only redeeming merit is that Ethan Hawke isn't overly smarmy for a change. The acting is pretty bad overall, but maybe that's because the characters are such stereotypes -- the scene on the camping trip with the five boys might have just shown the cue cards being raised for each kid to read off of. The story is endless and tedious and uneventful. Save your money. Expand
  15. Aug 10, 2014
    6
    An overrated film, exceedingly so. There are several funny moments that are genuinely human and natural. Yet the film is about half an hour too long and the ending fails to accomplish anything. While the concept of the style of filmmaking is brilliant, how does it help the movie? The acting was slightly above average. The scenes of alcoholic step-fathers and philosophical conversations is completely unnecessary. Linklater is normally a better director than this. Expand
  16. Jul 18, 2014
    10
    Linklater took a huge risk with this film; and it payed dividends; to me one question plagued my mind throughout the last half of the film : How can a this film with almost no plot apart from life itself be so engrossing and emotionally grasping and how can it possibly have an ending ? I don't know if the ending was the greatest , but god damn I loved that it did what it did.

    See this film.
  17. Jul 19, 2014
    10
    I have a high tolerance of films where 'not much happens' (for example 'Lost in Translation' or 'The Class') and I like the previous Linklater films 'Before Sunrise' and particularly 'Before Sunset', so if those films leave you cold then perhaps this isn't for you, and possibly this film will most appeal to parents whose children are now adults. That said: 'Boyhood' is now my new favourite film. This film allows you to see your own efforts at parenting through the eyes of the children Mason and Samantha who are virtually powerless as their parents make mistake after mistake and force changes upon them - moving state, moving school, moving adults in and out of their lives - the children just gamely get on with the changes in their lives as best they can. One of the film's many strengths is that the four central family members are all depicted as good decent people who are 'Just winging it' as Ethan Hawke says. This film is perhaps a work of art in that an entire fictitious childhood has been created and filmed for us to witness. And just like in a real life, a slight occurrence can be surprisingly moving: seeing your child in his graduation robes, or being acknowledged for 'just being there' and seeing the project of parenthood through. All of life is here, and all coming of age dramas will now struggle to shine in comparison. Expand
  18. Jul 27, 2014
    10
    A great film that evokes the pathos and beauty of life. Even today, this radical, artful, yet simple film moves the viewer as no other film in my memory has had the power to do. Its additive power quietly mounts into a work of 21st century art in a way that far surpasses the typically formulaic or ironic exemplars we normally experience today in movie houses or museums. Betsey Sharkey of the LA Times has the most useful analysis and appreciation of the major critics here. Expand
  19. Jul 28, 2014
    10
    There are some movies that are excellent and then there are some that are ground-breaking. Boyhood is in that rarefied air of the latter. It is important to define what Boyhood is as much as what it isn't. This is not your typical movie of cliff hangers and shocking revelations. This is not a movie of searing performances and of acting the part of some highly unusual character ala Rain Man or Raging Bull. This is clearly not a movie of escapism and triumph of good over evil.

    This is the movie that Terrence Malik was trying to make when he made his artsy inscrutable Tree of Life. This is an easily accessible story of life in all of its reality without a single bit of artifice used to tell the story. This is also a movie trying to be shown and told through a boy;s eyes. Scenes that are shown and are memorable because that is what would register in the child's eyes at that time and place in their life. The authenticity documented by taking 12 years to film it and accept the changes in the world that would have to fit the storyline can not be replicated in a traditional movie. This gives it the gravitas of a true story and makes it all that much more believable.

    The other revelation of this movie is that it should be on some level the story of your life. There has to be some empathy and connection to what you see on screen that is relatable to one's own experiences. This movie is more then a passive watching experience, this is a mirror into ourselves and what the passage of life means to us. The beauty of this movie is that it doesn't have to be the son who you relate to, even though he is the focus. You can be any of the immediate family or none at all and still connect in a visceral way to the characters.

    Linklater didn't tell the story of just a boy, he told the story of us all and what can be more engrossing then watch a filmmaker take the time to take snippets of our lives and put it on screen in his own imitable style. We are all much more enriched by having this truly wonderful movie made.
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  20. Jul 22, 2014
    10
    This is one of those films that isn't just important in the context of filmmaking, but it's also essential in the context of what life is. Life is really memories strung together and woven into a single thread; you don't get anything different from this daring film. Some of the scenes are hard-hitting and when you finally reach the end of the film, you'll realize its importance. An absolute gem from filmmaker Richard Linklater. Expand
  21. Jul 23, 2014
    10
    12 years in the making sounds like a long time, especially for a movie. Boyhood is a simple movie, but on the grand scheme of things, it has more to it. In the run time of 2 hrs & 45 mins, you get to witness these characters grow up in front of our very eyes. What this movie has is realistic dialogue, great acting, a great score, and the brilliant directing by Richard Linklater. Some may say this movie could be the best of the year, and it very well could be. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. Expand
  22. Jul 15, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. -spoiler alert-
    I saw the movie without ever even heard of it during one of my 'Amongst Frieds' evenings (Ketelhuis, Amsterdam, Holland) where they just show you a movie they want you to see for whatever reason. (saw great movies that normaly are not topprio to me, like Enemy and All is lost.)
    Everything is being said about this movie. It's so epic in all it's smallness.
    I only want to ad a few scenes that hit me hard, amongst others:
    The soldier sitting on the porch drinking his beer, after the heroic stories he told the crowd a few years earlier. Normally it's "And then they live happily ever after." Now you see what really happens to a guy.

    The moment where mom leaves her teacher/husband with both her kids, but have to leave the other (his) 2 kids behind. That is about the most cruel thing to whitness. Living night and day with the other kids as if they are your own. Ghosh.

    And last but not least of course the monologue of mom sitting in her kitchen at the near end. Keeps me thinking...
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  23. Jul 31, 2014
    10
    Saw it for the second time last night. The theater was packed. Though the film is 3 hours long, when the end credits came up, people applauded and sat till the end of the credits.

    The first time I saw it, I thought how moving it was. The second time I saw it, I realized how funny it is, full of great lines. I also appreciated even more the performances: Ellar Coltrane is incredible,
    Patricia Arquette is that rarity: a beautiful and earthy American actress. Ethan Hawke does the best work of his career and Lorelei Linklater has to be one of the funniest kids ever born. She steals every scene she's in.

    This movie won't be liked by people who love plot contrivances, OTT acting, explosions, gang warfare, superheroes, monsters, Megan Fox, the list goes on... It will never be forgotten by people who love cinema in its purest form. It will never be forgotten by people who fought with their siblings in the backseats of cars, single mothers who fought like crazy but could never pull off a miracle, deadbeat dads who wish they weren't and by any kid who grew up - ever.

    Here's to Richard Linklater, the Texan Truffaut!
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  24. Jul 28, 2014
    4
    The performances are mostly great, to the actors' credit. Particular praise is due to Mason's sister--her performance stole the film. This is, to be sure, and ambitious and respectable venture, but the writer falls short regarding his con veying the profundity and complexity of real life. The are no real arcs. There is no real conflict. There is no depth. Life is far more strange than this very safe telling. Hawke's character is inconsistent and therefore falls apart regarding credibility over the course of the film. Arquette does the best job of holding a nuanced and flawed character together over the course of the film.

    Linklater's obvious time marks were obtrusive and annoying (iPods, video games, emailing, etc.). I think Linklaterr had a very one-dimensional boyhood and this comes across in the banality of his existence and then the random spikes of conflict that felt purely manufactured and un-genuine.

    This film will be lauded, i'm sure. And often blindly so--because of its daring innovation. But if you have a taste for depth and authenticity, you will feel the holes in this film. I was engaged throughout...though some slack does develop in the final 40 minutes. It is a blend of predictability, boredom and implausibility. I think Linklater lacks imagination of the life experiences necessary to carry out a film of this nature to any degree of verisimilitude. I'm not asking for exploitive and gratuitous seediness, but life is not so flat and neat as this film portrays it to be.

    Semi-spoiler: the scene later in the film with the restaurant manager made me groan. What a cheap shot!
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  25. Jul 31, 2014
    10
    You either get the beauty of this simplistic yet masterpiece which has greater deep meaning layered within the 2 hr and 40 min movie or you don't. Sadly those who don't get this gem of a film are the movie goers who fuel the 80 million dollar opening weekend grosses of "popcorn" mainstream films made for the masses. While there is nothing wrong with supporting those big budget summer type flicks, I gotta applaud folks who see and appreciate a movie like Boyhood. I only wish more independent films that make you think we're more commonly made by Hollywood studios. Regardless I thought this movie was absolutely incredible and had a lot to say, a film that has stayed with me now weeks after seeing it. Expand
  26. Aug 17, 2014
    5
    An obscenely massively OVER-praised little film. I like Linklater and follow his work, but please.
    This movie is short on plot, narrative arch and drive, and character (thin at that); but long on didactics,
    platitudes and sentiment. These jackass critics should all be fired. They are so shallow they champion a film based purely on its gimmick (which I'm glad he tried it, it will go
    down in cinematic history but a gimmick does not make an excellent film) and its wearing of their politics on its sleeve. DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE and DO NOT EVER FOLLOW The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Rolling Stone critics to name just a few. They are utterly worthless. Expand
  27. Aug 13, 2014
    10
    You probably know the unique concept: This film blends real time and fiction as it looks in on the maturation of a boy and his family for 12 years, as he literally grows on camera. The time progress seamlessly, as life's everyday interactions take place between his family and friends. There are some landmarks, but more often it's the understated, mundane moments that blend into a quietly powerful portrait. Director Richard Linklater mines humor and emotion in the seemingly ordinary dialogue and the passage of minor cultural landmarks. The performances are uniformly natural and completely compelling. Even at 2:45, every minute captivates as only true life can. A modest masterpiece. Expand
  28. Jul 17, 2014
    10
    Boyhood is the best film of the decade. Richard Linkleter has used time the way no director has before. Shooting his script with the same actors over 12 years. . he has made a fim simply about life . the films running time is 164 minutes.After the film was over i could not think of a scene i would have cut. The film editor Sanfra Adair has done a masterful job. do not miss this film you will think about it for weeks. Expand
  29. Aug 15, 2014
    10
    As someone who's around the same age as Mason (21) I really related to his character and the US he was growing up in at the time. The acting across the board is flawless (Patricia Arquette better get some award attention), Linklater's direction is so detailed I kept getting nostalgia whiplashes from the music to the events (summer 2005 HP: Half Blood Prince book release, anyone?), and the dialogue makes all these characters seem fleshed out and real. If anyone's going to have a problem with this film it's the ones who NEED a strong plot (or any plot, really) which the movie doesn't really supply. You're watching a kid grow into a young man through the coarse of a 3 hour movie. Basic drama. It's both about nothing and about everything.
    I feel like Boyhood, much like other films like Avatar and Cloud Atlas, is going to be remembered more for its technical scope and ambition rather than it's narrative. Which is fine for me because I love those films and I feel like this is going to go down as one of my favorite films. It's definitely going to be my favorite of 2014, that I can guarantee!
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  30. Aug 12, 2014
    2
    It amazes me all the hype and praise for this movie, especially by critics and a lot of fans. I for one, just don't get it. Ok, I like some of Linklater's films and you can say, that Boyhood is unique in that it 'supposedly' captures a white boy growing up over 12 years. But I'd take any other boy's story over this lame, lackluster ride for over 2hrs at that. Some nice cinematography and most of the acting is on point, but wtf is the story. Oh, thats right, a boy growing up!? And his dysfunctional family? sorry, this pales in comparison to real life for many outside this bubble. Forget all the hype and save your money and watch this when it hits cable or netflix. If you really want to see a story of a boy aging over time and life's impact, go watch the documentary, "American Promise." Here's another case in point, where you DON'T listen to these so called professional critics. What a bunch of baloney. Expand
  31. Aug 10, 2014
    1
    This is not the perfection you think it is. Its a long and boring story, not so much original. Well, these 12 years of recordings make everybody think "oh lord, what amazing". Ok, but this its not enough to make this a great thing. Sorry.
  32. Aug 14, 2014
    10
    Great movie, it's been a while since a movie stuck with me a few hours after watching. Really taken by the way you felt as if you were watching a family grow apart, back together, and deal with some really tricky issues. Felt as if the actors were actually growing up while watching the movie. I felt like it was what Tree of Life should have been (that one was too strung out and too out there). Boyhood strikes a nice balance between getting deep in feelings and staying in the moment as well.
    [Spoilers ahead]The high-school senior Mason has the most profound realizations, but when he gets to freshman year of college the real relate-able conversations happen: son wanting to get away, mom scared of moving on, and everyone genuinely taking everything in once the last kid leaves the nest.

    In summary, will probably buy this movie to experience the feelings over again, almost like recalling them like they happened to me. That's how close it comes to a real human experience.
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  33. Aug 13, 2014
    10
    It's hard to award this movie less than a perfect score, even though it isn't a perfect movie. It works so well for what it is, and is such a thoroughly enjoyable work of art, that it should be impervious to the judgment you'd pass on a normal film. As it stands, Boyhood is a collection of mostly great scenes which cause you to laugh, tear up, or reflect on your own life. I saw the movie with my my sister and after it was all over she said to me "That was mostly a comedy." And to my surprise I agreed. But all the humor is so organic that it sneaks up on you, and I could say the same for the dramatic bits as well. Expand
  34. Jul 24, 2014
    8
    Richard Liknlater's unique experimental film about one boy's evolution into adulthood is a long but engaging coming of age story. Shot over a period of 12 years, and calling on the same cast each time, it is a risky enterprise that could have failed in numerous ways. To Linklater's good fortune his cast are uniformly excellent. As the boy under scrutiny Ellar Coltrane acts naturally and even though the story and his character, Mason, are fictional there is a sense that one is watching the real person evolve. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette (so this is where she's been) are totally convincing as the parents 'winging it'. Arquette's rant 'I thought there would be more!' probably mirrors the reactions of audiences who will not warm to the film's general lack of outlandish drama and sudden time switches. Others, like myself, will find these subtle transitions make the picture feel fluid.

    Despite seeming a long watch I don't know where any cuts could reasonably be made to make it more manageable, even though a lot more time is given over to Mason's later teenage years when he is dating and contemplating college. The screenplay, whilst lacking a lot of dramatic incident, has a lot of social/political points to make and Mason becomes the mouthpiece for many of these. At times one gets the impression that what he is saying really represents another, more mature, person's views. However, the writing is intelligent and people of all ages will be able to recognise situations and identify or empathise with the characters experiencing them.

    After his enduring 'Before' series Richard Linklater has done it again in producing a film that, whilst it may not be the masterpiece exalted by the critics, is never the less a unique and ground breaking evocation of one ordinary boy's journey through childhood.
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  35. Jul 30, 2014
    10
    One of the aspects of the movie that is very interesting: Growing up in a broken family, Mason lives constant stressful interactions with his parents and stepfathers. Many times adults are in their own world and they have little empathy. He doesn't like it. He has to cope.
    On the other hand he has very nice moments with his father who tries hard to be the best parent he can be. The mother
    tries too but it is a different story. Also we see some nice family gatherings.
    Beautiful movie that makes the audience experience the process of growing up.
    Richard Linklater took twelve years to shoot this film. This is breakthrough, something that has never done before,truly a master piece.
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  36. Aug 1, 2014
    10
    Esta clase de peliculas son las que te hacen profundizar sobre diversos aspectos de tu vida y a la vez son un gran respiro para los amantes del buen cine.

    No digo que no sean entretenidos los blockbusters para pasar un buen rato con explociones, guerras y guiones sin sentido adornados con muchos efectos especiales que es lo que los grandes estudios de hollywood normalmente nos ofrecen
    cada verano.

    Por eso Boyhood me parecio tan fascinante un proyecto genial, lleno de momentos e imagenes de espectacular belleza que te hacen reflexionar, pensar y hasta profundizar por la cadencia que tiene el film y sobre todo porque no cae en formulas sencillas para hacer sobresaltar al espectador, sino más bien una propuesta solida, profunda y a la vez sencilla, en pocas pallabras ¡¡¡me encanto la pelicula!!!
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  37. Jul 26, 2014
    10
    A brilliantly observed slice of Americana about rites of passage, examining what it means to grow up. As much as I adore 'Before Sunrise', this unique, ambitious work about being a child and becoming an adult might top even that gem. Linklater's auteur traits are authenticity, recognizability and an ability to be moving and resonant in unforced ways. 'Boyhood' triggers our memory, thereby (like madeleine cakes and a portion of ratatouille before it) bending time and space, and makes us reflect. Expand
  38. Aug 12, 2014
    10
    Boyhood has a few problems that are not worth downgrading the film to 9, because Boyhood is simply a classic showpiece that is not to be and won't be forgotten anytime soon.
  39. Jul 14, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The couple of folks that don't "get" this movie, such as Mancunian2014, more than likely aren't familiar with Linklater or simply don't like his other films. Linklater's movies are rarely "plot-driven" with emotional highs and lows. Rather, he explores the significance of everyday moments, and how transcendence and wonder can be found in seemingly mundane incidents. As for the boy, Mason, I found it fascinating that for much of the movie he was introverted and rather hard to "read" while the characters around him (such as his older sister) were much more "out there" and demonstrative. Mason is by nature an observer, which is why it makes sense that he takes up photography. But later in the movie he starts to open up and express his thoughts and feelings, while the other characters became more contained. This was one of the many beauties of the film: documenting not only of the actors' physical changes, but the changes in their characters and personalities over time. And I've known plenty of kids like Mason who on the surface seem shy and inarticulate, but who possess inner depth and imagination.

    Simply put, this is simply not a conventional movie, and can't be experienced or viewed in the same way that one would view a typical Hollywood film. I thought "Boyhood" sounded like not much more than a stunt when I first read about it, but the experience of seeing it was for me, overwhelmingly beautiful and moving. It evokes so many memories and reflections of one's own life (as a child, as a parent, as a wife or husband), even as it stays within a very specific, personal world.

    So from my perspective, all the professional critics' plaudits are well earned. Linklater has achieved something entirely unique in cinema (Michael Apted's "Up" series notwithstanding), a meditation on the passage of time that points toward the beauty and importance of life's everyday moments.

    Then again, I know the vast majority of filmgoers found Malick's "Tree of Life" transcendently beautiful and meaningful, while I thought it was the biggest piece of pretentious crap ever brought to the screen. So it goes with cinema.

    I would add that the only reason I didn't give the film a "10" was the reappearance late in the movie of a character that had been influenced by Patricia Arquette's character. This seemed a bit contrived to me, one of the only false notes in the film. But it's a minor quibble about a major, risk-taking work of movie art.
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  40. psv
    Jul 18, 2014
    3
    I have just been witness of real life boy being stripped from his manliness as he grows old. The movie starts incredibly well, featuring the early stages of both a boy and a girl and all the subtle details that makes the difference between genders. The parents going through real relationship problems. The mother being amorous and caring and the father taking them out of their comfort zones and being active.
    Everything is awesome until the boy turns 15. His 15th birthday is one of the most amazing birthdays any man could have. He is given a shotgun for god sakes! From there the movie takes a 360 degree turn and becomes more of a series of propaganda scenes. The acting performance of the boy suddenly felt ungenuine. The boy is not the only one taken his manhood from. Suddenly every single male character becomes a confused wuss and is starts being reflected in the women around their lives. I just could not take it any more when I saw his sweet mother in tears of desperation. People around me laugh as the poor woman screamed for something to hold on to life.
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  41. Aug 10, 2014
    10
    Boyhood embodies greatness. It inspires and exhilarates. It is poignant and uplifting. Boyhood celebrates life like no other and examines its often obscure meaning.

    The film chronicles the fictional life of Mason from age five to eighteen. The plot follows his coming to age and the turmoil it often brings. This film is unique when it comes to story telling because it was filmed over the
    course of twelve years. This allows the film makers to experiment like no other and exemplifies to its audience the real time that passes in between scenes. You watch as Mason matures and you develop a deep connection with him that is almost universally unrivaled by other films. I became so engrossed in his character that the nearly three hour run time felt like mere minutes.

    Boyhood is brimming in high quality. Richard Linklater directed this film flawlessly. His direction highlights the emotion of the film and projects life into it’s characters. Linklater’s screenplay also perplexes the characters and is filled with memorable dialog and subtle wisdom. The combination of these elements defines the film and its soul. The assembled cast is also top notch. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette star, and newcomer Ellar Coltrane plays the title role of Mason. The chemistry between the actors is unmatched and it only continues to evolve as the film progresses.

    Boyhood is a celebration of life, from its triumphs to it’s heartbreak. It inspires us to live and as the film so eloquently put it “let the moment size you”. Boyhood instills its soul into every frame. It teaches us that life worth living. It shows us that beauty is all around us and we simply just have to let go to experience it. Boyhood is unlike anything that has proceeded it and likely unlike anything that will follow. It is revolutionizing in every sense of the word and is undeniably the best film (thus far) this year and possibly of this decade. I can not urge you enough to experience this monumental piece of art.
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  42. Jul 29, 2014
    10
    A unique offering from one of America's most original directors. This is not the sort of film imagined by neophyte filmmakers, stuck on the three act structure with predictable conflicts, crisis points and final resolution. Linklater explores influences that contribute to lives built. It is not merely children who grow and change; the adults central to Boyhood are as different after 12 years as their offspring. Linklater allows time to roll by without hitting us with title cards or other obvious signposts. The transitions tend to be subtle, involving, haircuts, music, technology. It's a lengthy film but I found it captivating and fulfilling. Kudos to Linklater but also to IFC Films. Founded in 1999 means that Boyhood has been a work in progress throughout most of its existence. A brave company that does not take the roads most followed. Expand
  43. Jul 31, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What a beautiful film..wow.

    I am so connected to these characters, almost as if they were real people I grew up with. I am not insane either; I can differentiate reality from a movie. I also relate to the simple fact that Mason is pretty much the same age as me so I grew up in the same, almost exact, time period he did. There were so many Easter eggs, if I can call them that, that I saw in this movie. I was smiling through a lot of this movie. It flashed me back to so many memories of mine.

    It is funny how much I relate to this movie because everyone is unique, even if they only have eight categories for selecting roommates, and Mason went down a different road than I did growing up, but we still saw the same signs and hit similar bumps along the way.

    This movie is long, and nothing monumental happens. I loved that about this movie. It did not force drama down your throat like a lot of the not-so-good melodramatic T.V. Shows. There are people who want more and more drama in these shows, and sometimes movies, but it just is not real life. Yes, there were some dramatic and big things that happened in Mason’s life, in his perspective we cared for him and sympathized, but these characters were not over-dramatized with romances and other problems like many shows are. That goes back to what I said about these characters feeling so real they pretty much are real people.

    The conversations were so smart and eye-opening. There are so many things in this movie that I could talk about; it is so good. I wish I could remember everything it has to say; that is a lot. I immediately want to see it again. There are so many brilliant and clever scenes ranging from being a kid to intellectual conversations.

    One thing in particular that I found funny was how they portrayed high school relationships in this movie at first glance. The director showed Mason with his girlfriend as a junior and they were all lovey-dovey, and he made it look like they were meant for each other and what not with conversations, but than he fast-forwarded a year in Mason’s life, and Mason and his girlfriend have broken up and are pretty much done with each other. I thought it was funny how ridiculous can be. No one came right out and said it either they just showed it through time. Well, I mean Mason and his dad talked about it later.

    I loved this movie. I provoke you all to see it. Don’t expect a high-octane thriller because obviously it is not. Just relax as you watch this movie. Enjoy what it is trying to say, and I feel like anyone who watches this movie will take something different out of it. There is so much great material in this movie. What a lovely movie. This is an instant classic.
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  44. Aug 3, 2014
    7
    The events seemed generic, too typical, and predictable. Which pushed the movie into territory that was so familiar as to feel cliched. There was zero dramatic tension, it just meandered on to a few beautiful landscape shots. Shooting over such a long period- interesting process.
  45. Aug 7, 2014
    6
    100 rating on this movie is a joke. The one stunt of using the same actor over a 12 to 15 year period is interesting but it doesn't make a good movie a great movie. At 2 hours and 40 minutes it requires a lot of patience. I found myself asking again and again "When does the shooting start?" Well it never did. It's a serious movie, about teenage angst and family problem, but more depressing than uplifting. I think it is worth seeing, but don't pass up American Hustle or Wolf of Wall Street to see this. Expand
  46. Aug 9, 2014
    10
    This is the type of film that warrants highly individualized reactions. It's clear that the film was made very well and the acting was incredible, but in many cases the viewers will not be able to relate to the content. It was a monumental undertaking and it was pulled off very well. I'm really looking forward to the behind the scenes / director's cut to come out.
  47. Aug 11, 2014
    10
    Not recommended for short attention spans, adrenaline addicts, lovers of gratuitous sex or violence, car chase scenes, or cheap, sleazy humor. This will painfully bore such people because this film has none of that. In fact, this film doesn't have a story or plot in the traditional film sense. It's simply three hours about a boy, his sister, his mother, his estranged father, and the other people they encounter in their lives over 12 years, all filmed in real time. Potentially boring to some viewers? Certainly. But I didn't want it to end, and I'll be seeing it for the fifth time tomorrow night. A masterpiece, a miracle, a gorgeous work of art which accomplishes nothing less than transcending the medium of film. I hope Richard Linklater makes a sequel that runs at least through the main character's first divorce... Expand
  48. Sep 15, 2014
    0
    Synopsis: Basically a left-wing, misandrist propaganda movie about the life of a drug-abusing, alcoholic, womanizing teenage delinquent; his airhead single mother; and all of the bad, disposable father figures the boy had in his life.

    Score Breakdown: Plot 0.2/10, Left-Wing Agenda -100/10, Total Score 0/10
  49. Aug 20, 2014
    7
    It was an okay movie, I enjoyed watching it. But it isnt that great by any stretch. If you've seen any of the Before Sunrise Trilogy you should know what to expect. The implications of the subject matter are preachy, even if I happen to agree with most of what's been said. I'm sure it will win a ton of awards but in my opinion its nothing special.
  50. Jul 19, 2014
    7
    What is interesting about this movie is that it was being filmed with the same cast for 12 years. We see Mason first when he is 6, then 7, then 8 and so on until he is not a boy any longer. Naturally, people around him grow older as well. It is as if you get into a time machine. I am not completely surprised: the director of the movie, Richard Linklater, made 3 movies about the same couple with 10 year intervals.
    This film is very good in many aspects but it would be even better if it were made half an hour shorter. My guess it was too difficult to cut a piece of work that took that long to make. But there were scenes that would make it better if omitted.
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  51. Aug 10, 2014
    7
    Earth to critics - Boyhood may have been a successful experiment, but it is by no means a masterpiece. A transcendent film should convey some memorable archetypes, and this film, for all its cataloguing of the experiences of growing up as a boy, with a sister, a mother, and several fathers - one biological, and the others there chiefly to display male shortcomings - comes up with few, if any. Despite the protagonist's criticisms of Facebook - valid enough, in my view - the movie resolves into a timeline as much as anything else. It's not that I did not enjoy the movie - it was perfectly entertaining. However, this is a film review site, and as such desperately needs some balance in the assessment of this particular offering. Expand
  52. Sep 8, 2014
    10
    Boyhood sticks with you, and for those who found this dull, boring and about nothing, need to check themselves because this movie is about our everyday lives. This is the most humane movie of the year if I've ever seen one, I feel sorry for you're childhood if you didn't connect with this movie.
  53. Aug 12, 2014
    7
    The strength of Boyhood is how real it felt, every conversation, every scene and every moment. Ambitious yes, ground-breaking absolutely but far way from being anything close to a masterpiece.
  54. Aug 12, 2014
    8
    All in all it was a very interesting movie that provided a unique experience. The length is not necessary. At some point you have to know when the end a movie. Over-hyped.
  55. Aug 24, 2014
    10
    A remarkable project brought superbly to fruition. The auteur, Linklater, could not have known where this twelve year project would take him, and this leads to a film of remarkable spontaneity and urgency. What emerges is a portrait of a young man who has grown up seeing how his parents live and determined not to repeat their mistakes. The actors do their best film work ever. And the sense of how things change in a society you grow up in is finely observed. The whole thing has the flavor of French cinema verite at its absolute best. Expand
  56. Aug 9, 2014
    8
    Boyhood is not worthy of a 100 metacritic score, but that doesn't mean that this movie is a mediocre film, because it is absolutely not mediocre. This film is still fantastic. The beginning of the film was easily the best. From the age of 6-14, the movie was a work of art. Powerful, funny, and touching, giving you a sense of great emotion and feeling for Mason Jr. The movie felt worthy of a 100. However, the second half felt unrealistic, not as emotionally powerful, and less entertaining than the first 1/2 of the film. It felt like a bit of a drag to get through the 15-18 years of Mason Jr.'s life. Linklater should have focused more on the childhood rather than the teenage life. Also, I feel like the length of the film could have been cut about 20 minutes. However, the film was still worth seeing and was very entertaining (at least the first half). Expand
  57. Sep 28, 2014
    2
    If a movie gets all great reviews, you have to question if it is really that good. Yes, this movie was a feat in filming a life of a boy and his family over so many years, but it was not worth sitting 3 hours and watching the young man question what it was all about and then not coming up with an answer. It's a good movie to take a needed nap.
  58. Sep 19, 2014
    9
    Life is a crazy thing. It's not something that can be properly represented by words, or even a picture. However, 'Boyhood' is the closest we'll ever get to that hopelessly distant reality. We're talking about a film so encapsulated by reality that ,as a member of the audience, we feel as if we're looking over our shoulders into a life that we once had, like a forgotten dream on the tip of our tongues. We follow the subtly changing life of a growing boy as he wrestles with the most fundamental questions in life. For every second we watch of the film, we're rewarded with quiet (yet brilliant) wisdom that looms over every frame of the movie. Ferociously philosophical, reflective and unforgettable, 'Boyhood' is a provocative meditation on the nature of life and reality as we know it. Expand
  59. Aug 5, 2014
    10
    I just saw it tonight, don't quite have the words to summarize how in love I am with it, but I certainly am. It's **** fantastic and the most truly original movie I've seen in quite some time.
  60. Jul 26, 2014
    8
    I'm sorry to attract attention to this, but the meta-score isn't right, or so it seems. I've summed up the scores and the average was 97. Just logically you can't have the max score with a 75 review. Overlooking that point the movie is interesting and emotional. Definitely something that deserves your time.
  61. Aug 14, 2014
    10
    What a profound film. Amazing scope, vision and creativity to do this. I've never seen anything like this before. Even though the story is reasonably normal, the story you see and the characters along the way feel so absolutely real, I had to remind myself it was just a film multiple times. A massive achievement in film, in my opinion.
  62. Aug 23, 2014
    10
    An instant classic. This groundbreaking film brought to us by Richard Linklater is an emotional story of a dysfunctional family, all revolving around the boy. Filmed over 12 years, the transitions from year to year in the film are recognized by the different looks of the actors and the music that plays from each year. Best of the year so far. Truly amazing.
  63. Aug 2, 2014
    10
    Boyhood, simply put, is a grand cinematic achievement. It chronicles a boy's life over a 12 year period, and the actor is the same the whole movie (they filmed a couple of scenes every year). This is Linklater's best film, as well as his most ambitious. But, it's not a perfect movie; it doesn't tie up every loose end, it doesn't resolve the same way average Hollywood fare usually does. However, that's not how life works: sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, it twists and turns, and not everything comes out the way you wanted it to be. If the movie didn't have flaws, it wouldn't have been as realistic. The movie us touching, and has a hefty emotional payoff. Experience it for yourself; it's well worth it. Expand
  64. Aug 1, 2014
    10
    I'd give this film a 96/100. It is a film like no other. There isn't a story or a plot. The feeling this film will give you is so difficult to describe. The best I can do is to say that it's almost the exact same feeling I get when I'm laying down in my bed and reminiscing about my own life. When I first got done watching the film, I didn't think much of it, but it crept up on me, in much the same way that our memories and nostalgia creep up on us when we are daydreaming. There is no take-away message, no feel-good story, no unrealistic drama -- it is a screenshot of life itself (as boring as that might seem on a surface level), and in this way, it's one of the most unique films, if not the most unique, in tonality, story and character. In short, this is a snapshot of life and I believe that it will leave a mark on cinema for a long time. Expand
  65. Aug 25, 2014
    10
    Incomparable. this film is by no means "perfect" in terms of 'enjoyment from watching', but I think that's the point, it's like a documentary of normal life. It takes on an epic task of recounting childhood linearly with honesty. It may not be as eventful as you wanted, a little dry in places, flat in the ending but if you want an honest portrayal of Westernized coming-of-age then that to me is pretty close to how it would look. For me, not as emotionally moving as Linklater's other works but leaves you reflective and slightly nostalgic. Expand
  66. Aug 7, 2014
    9
    A very near perfect film! Watching this film made me flashback to my childhood years all over again! I related to a lot of things in this film, since I also grew up during the 12-year time frame that it took place. I highly commend Richard Linklater for coming up with such a simple, yet daring idea of a boy and his family growing older over the course of 12 years. While the film doesn't necessarily have any Oscar-worthy performances, everyone does so well with how long it took to make the film. Ellar Coltrane is fun to watch as he grows older and the many different events that unfold around him throughout his life. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette give great and honest performances as his parents. The only weak performance was from Linklater's own daughter Lorelei. Overall, there were a few things in the film that I wish would've been done a little bit differently. For the most part however, it's easily the most heartfelt, honest, and genuine-feeling film I've seen all year so far. As far as I'm concerned, it might as well be considered the quintessential coming-of-age film! Expand
  67. Aug 6, 2014
    10
    This movie is an outstanding phenomenon filmed over 12 years with dialogue, acting, and everything you can see is the boy growing up to age 6-18, it's fascinating.
  68. Oct 5, 2014
    0
    I download this movie from some pirate site, just because i don't want to pay for garbage. I thought maybe someday i watch the movie so beautiful, that i can go and seriously buy a BR disk. But this... OMG, people! Why critics adore it? Why here perfect score? What's wrong with them? I can't understand. This movie is EXTREMELY BORING and it lasts 3 HOURS! What is this? Is this a story about life of a human being? Okay, maybe it is. But why we need to sit through all this? I don't think that movie about life is even interesting. If i want life i can go outside and live the hell outta it. When i watch a movie i don't want simulation of life. I want entertainment. And here is none of it. Every minute is dull, every moment is tiresome, every character is annoying. I tried to watch this twelve times and on thirteen i succeed at last. And it's suck a waste of time, mind and life. Linklater create a most dull movie in existence and critics loved it. Maybe because their writings about this film is also boring as Tijuana. Expand
  69. Aug 25, 2014
    3
    Boyhood is a movie shot with the same cast over 12 years. As the main character grows from a kid in elementary school into a young adult, he understands himself and the world around him and gains more control over it. While the idea of growth is a fascinating subject, this movie fails to build an engaging story around it.

    In Boyhood, milestone moments in life are overshadowed by mundane
    events. High school graduation is overshadowed by a talk with a friend after graduation ceremony. Marriages and divorces are overshadowed by talks over dinner table. The movies seems to be very valuable for the director, Richard Linklater, and the cast who helped with the script and the mundane moments that are overemphasized seem to have personal connections with the cast. If you similar connections with similar moments in life, you will love the movie, otherwise there is not much to love in Boyhood. Expand
  70. Aug 27, 2014
    10
    Once in a while a film comes along that not only makes you step back and look at the way movies are made, but forces you to reflect on how your own life is unfolding; Boyhood is one such film. Boyhood took 12 years to create, and the unique storytelling style is a refreshing break from many recently released movies.

    Boyhood tells the story of a family going through a string of
    milestones. The film is easy to relate to because many of us are currently experiencing, or have already reached, each of these phases.

    As time goes on, the film grows with the characters, further captivating the audience. Scenes mature along with the cast, gradually becoming more intimate and open. The vision, dedication and follow-through it took to create such an epic project is clearly evident on screen. We’ve had some great films come out in 2014, but nothing even remotely close to Boyhood. The film-making technique that is showcased in this piece of art is truly something special.

    As for Boyhood’s near three hour runtime, I would change nothing. The few minor complaints I had during the movie were washed away after seeing the perfection in this touching story.

    Boyhood is easily the best film of the year, a masterpiece I wish every person could experience. It’s a life-impacting creation, and when people ask me, “What’s one of your favorite movies?” I will reply Boyhood, for years to come.
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  71. Aug 20, 2014
    10
    Absolutely spectacular. The film itself is genius--- same actors over 12 years. You as the viewer are able to experience the same people grow, discover, and learn just as you have and continue to do. This film displays events and characteristics that absolutely anyone of any niche, background, or culture can relate to--- domestic abuse, failed marriages, step-parents, single parenting, sexual growth, intellectual growth, moral discovery, curiosity, failure, laziness, motivation, and much more. This film is the perfect representation of the modern Western struggle, which differs greatly from that of other cultures. I give this film a well-deserving 10/10. This film was not meant to be action packed with unrealistic events; that is not the point. It is an honest experience that people should watch to relate to. Expand
  72. Aug 14, 2014
    7
    great story, but this movie is way too long. i think the same effect could've been the same at two hours. i think this movie is pretty over rated, and the only technical achievement was that it was filmed over time, there really isnt anything mesmerizing here.
  73. Jul 20, 2014
    9
    The movie is fantastic, needless to say. As a person who grew up during the same time frame, it was like seeing bits of my childhood come to life and leading into college which I am in now. The authenticity is perfect as it was shot during the actual years it's depicting in the film. However the political propaganda could have been excluded from the film for the sake of social/political differences. There were a few bits of social propaganda as well such as the depiction of a "confederate flag waving anti-democrat southerner." But all in all the film was fantastic. I felt the depiction of the children was a little stereotypical as well. Not every teenager is a pop-singing, drug taking, beer chugging, soulless, mumbling, whatever-attitude, sex starved, anti-parent child. In fact, most of them don't fit that depiction. I was hoping for a different and more realistic depiction of teenagers from this movie. I only give the film a 9 for those two reasons for which I usually take 3-4 marks off, however this film started with a 12 rating because of its innovation and uniqueness. Will definitely go down as a classic in cinema. Expand
  74. Aug 31, 2014
    10
    Filmed over a 12 year period, "Boyhood" is the simple, relatable and extraordinary journey of a boy and his family. The wonderful premise and Richard Linklater's outstanding direction make "Boyhood" the year's best film, as of yet, and a sure contender for best picture. One of the best qualities of "Boyhood" is how well the audience can relate to the characters. I found myself transported back to my own childhood while watching Mason grow up before my eyes; whether it was in watching the interactions and typical sibling disputes between Mason and Samantha or just seeing Mason acclimate to the challenges of growing up. Another refreshing aspect is how the film's plot doesn't revolve around a sinister villain, winning a championship game or surmounting impossible odds, but rather is simply about the beautiful and thoroughly entertaining adventure of "Boyhood." Expand
  75. Jul 29, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Boyhood" comes with an interesting idea behind it, but never uses this gimmick for anything more than a tool to enhance the bildungsroman style of the story. We start off with a young Mason going through a very normal life and end with him graduating high school still a very normal, if slightly anti-establishment, attitude.

    Although you might expect ~160 minutes and literally 12 years to create an interesting character, Mason never really comes into his own. We are shown many different stages of life and clichéd moments--but at a certain point seeing another youth look at lingerie magazines loses its humor and originality. None of the characters are especially memorable or go through any kind of arc. Sure, Mason changes over the years but not through what we see; what we see are only the most typical and forgettable scenes of Mason's life. Why do we need to see how cool a person Mason's dad can be (portrayed in the conventional method of 'divorced dad is more fun while divorced mom cares more about schoolwork') yet we never get to see his interests grow and develop? Why does Mason stop loving video games and move onto loving cameras?

    The film subsists solely on the gimmick of aging. As mentioned before no character arc is fleshed out, even the mother continues to date men who end up being alcoholics. There is no real sustenance to this film, only ever becoming captivating in its nostalgic reminders about video games, TV shows, or technology changing over the years. While this does give moments of entertainment, the whole film sags around these sequences.

    The cinematography, praised for "loving Texas" in various reviews, does little to enhance the banal change from place to place. Not once was there a shot even close to the immensely superior *Paris, Texas* which, in a much shorter amount of time, showed us more unique and memorable locations than anything present here in Boyhood.

    In conclusion, Boyhood is all hype. If the idea interests you, at least try to spend little money watching it. For real character development you could go to almost any other movie, even for a film with character development but little explanation you could at least watch some Maurice Pialat. Nothing in this film is special except for a dedication that only really comes across in the two child actors, and even then is never used for little more than visual continuity. Please, watch something else and save your time.
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  76. Jul 30, 2014
    10
    I saw this two days ago, so wanted to review and respond to some of the reviews here. I too had a response to the mom's poor choices, but the response was that this story rang so true. Why do people make such bad choices? It was sad that the mother kept choosing the wrong guys and exposing her children to them. It was especially sad because she finally got an education and we think should have known better.

    I have a family member that does this so often, you just watch in horror and this is someone who is incredibly talented, smart, and really beautiful. This is the reason this is so good, is that it is so truthful. And I agree that Arquette is fascinating in this. Her acting at the end just doesn't seem to be acting. Great movie, but I would love to watch it at home due to the length.
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  77. Aug 3, 2014
    10
    Made me feel nostalgic. Made me laugh. Made me emotional. Made me happy that it felt authentic and not forced. Made me yearn for more; on screen and in my own life. Top notch movie.
  78. Aug 5, 2014
    10
    This movie is spectacular! From the cast to the simplicity of the plot, everything goes in harmony in a way that you just feel like its real. It’s certainly the best movie I’ve ever saw in my 17 years old life (and I’ve seen a lot of them). It made me look at childhood from a different perspective because, before, I was sure my childhood had been a big chunk of my life where I did nothing incredible but I realized that everything I did was exceptional. From going to a water park to watching a movie with my parents, I realized that, even if I didn’t become a child actor or invent something, my childhood was awesome in all the little things I did. I think that’s what I like the most about ‘’Boyhood’’, It made me think and see childhood from a different perspective. Expand
  79. Aug 6, 2014
    10
    What an absolutely beautiful film. I was worried that at 2h 40m and a couple of glasses of wine I'd fall asleep, but the movie was utterly engrossing. There has never been a film that evoked in me such strong memories of growing up, the hopelessness of a childhood depending on parents who constantly get it wrong and the subsequent explosion of feelings as you enter adolescence. With the exception of Mason's first stepdad, the stereotypical alcoholic husband, every character in the film was very well developed and loveable despite their endless flaws. Indeed, this was this rare breed of film that can increase one's understanding and ability to forgive family members, old lovers and friends who have inevitably caused hurt by being human. The performances from Ellar Coltrane (the boy of the title) and Lorelei Linklater (his sister and also the director's daughter) were faultless, helped by being given two brilliant characters to develop. Definitely going back for another view! Expand
  80. Aug 7, 2014
    2
    Surprisingly Uninspiring! Boyhood was a unique idea but lacked excitement and feeling. The movie played like a long (166 minute) documentary focusing on the coming of age of two kids who face divorce, mixed family , alcoholism and the struggles of life. Do not waste your money unless Aunt Rose gave you a free pass. The acting was poor, the plot (if there was one) was scattered and the emotions were few and far between. I continuously was waiting for something that would move me but Boyhood did not meet those needs. I go to movies like this to feel something emotionally. The only thing I felt was anger that I paid $ 7.50 to get in. Expand
  81. Aug 10, 2014
    10
    Gorgeous Movie, everything is fantastic. The last 1/2 hour could of used some more time in the editing room, but otherwise, one of the best movies so far of 2014. Nearly every performance was fantastic, and everyone can relate to this film in one way or another.
  82. Aug 15, 2014
    10
    Richard Linklater weaves magical elements to create a film so silent yet so powerful. A dozen years in the making, the final product is nothing short of sophistication and joy, teaching the viewer to notice and appreciate the little things in life as well as all the people who help you through the difficult times. With Arquette in the lead as the mother who seems to be guiding her children in the right the path through life as her's spirals in different directions altogether, to Hawke, as the runaway father who learns the responsibility of fatherhood from family (the old and new), one of the greatest strengths of this film lies in the acting talents of its superb cast. The narration and direction fall into the "awards worthy" category, and I truly hope this film gets all the accolades coming its way,as the film truly meets and surpasses all the hype and hoopla surrounding it. Expand
  83. Aug 16, 2014
    5
    Great concept, not so great execution. Yes, it is cool that they took 12 years to film the same group of actors, but as far as plot goes, it wasn't very impressive. Lots of stuff about not really anything, just how life goes. If you go around and follow people for 12 years, make a documentary, and show the world what really happens in 12 years. Since -in this case- they wanted to create a work of fiction, i'm a little disappointing about what they came up with. Felt also a little cheap how they put in all kinds of references to 'how the world was at that time', like talking about cellphones, text messages, Facebook profiles etc. Again, if this was a documentary, that would be fine. But as a work of fiction, i'm disappointed. Expand
  84. Aug 17, 2014
    1
    A great concept with no there there. Like taking a 3 hour bath with none of the pleasure of the first 30 mins of that bath... painful after the first hour. Maybe that's a form of water torture - boring scene drip after boring scene drip.

    Imagine if your friend's parent was a movie or commercial director & filmed him with pro gear over 12 years. Then imagine he showed you & some
    complete strangers 3 hours of dull to modestly interesting moments that they captured. Now imagine your friend told you beforehand it was a masterpiece that expanded the boundaries of film making & the best thing you'll see all year.

    That's all you need to know about how you'll feel after watching this boring, lazy, overhyped waste of time. Yes, life is made up of tiny little moments. But life needs editing, and people need to form their own opinions instead of following meekly what they are supposed to like. Shameful it was so fawned over by critics.
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  85. Aug 20, 2014
    10
    There are times when you watch a movie where you feel privileged to experience these characters. Boyhood immerses you fully in the lives of its characters as you see them grow up before your eyes, experiencing real and relatable events. They quickly become like your next door neighbors and you are curious and care what happens to them. It's a testament that life itself doesn't have to have big moments to be memorable and impactful. Expand
  86. Aug 25, 2014
    9
    Even though he does succeed in doing so, Linklater's goal is not to impress, but rather tell a story about an average boy's life, and tell a story he sure does.
  87. Aug 28, 2014
    10
    Richard Linklater created the most realistic representation of high school on film in Dazed & Confused nearly twenty years ago. Now he trumps that with a film that can't even claim to be a facsimile of what it means to grow up, because it actually is documenting over 12 years the same actor as he changes from a child into a man. Years from now people will look back at this movie as a record of what it was like to be a child in this new century.
    A perfect time capsule of a film.
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  88. Aug 31, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is far too overrated, I get that it's filmed over 12 years and that's pretty cool. The acting is TERRIBLE, the character development was barely a 5. There were multiple plot-holes and the relevance to actual Boyhood and growing up wasn't very much. I know this because I'm a 14 year old boy and I went to watch this film with various other friends who are also my age and gender.

    The reason that this movie is rated so highly is because most, if not all, major critics are a lot older than I. They don't experience this movie the same way that my friends and I do. People my age are still experiencing "Boyhood" and are far more informed about movies like this, if you were to ask me I'd say that major companies should hire younger critics. Our opinions are more in sync and much more relevant. Don't praise the young actors for their "talent," I guess they were okay for their age but that shouldn't change how you rate it. Even when the main character's actor was 18 he was still pretty bad.

    The thing that annoyed me the most in this film was when they tried to make the characters sound all philosophical. It doesn't fool anyone, it just sounded extremely corny.

    I honestly enjoyed watching the actors grow but that was about it. Don't believe the hype, I had more fun making fun of this movie with my friends than actually watching it. It was okay.
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  89. Sep 13, 2014
    1
    weak acting, weak writing, trite themes, could not believe the high ratings this film received. total waste of time and money. only positive was the unique filming over 12 years, but wasted on this particular film.
  90. Oct 3, 2014
    3
    Boyhood should never have been a feature film.

    Feeling wholly episodic, Boyhood fails to resonate as a story--its thematic through-line is unclear and each episode lacks the transitions necessary in drawing any sense of a story together. There are certain scenes that make me believe Boyhood would have worked really well as a 12-part miniseries, wherein every episode delves deeper into
    each year of the 12 years it took to film. Provided it contained more depth, better chemistry between the actors and a clearer focus to the tale being told (that a longer series could have afforded), this would have been a remarkable achievement.

    Instead, Boyhood succeeds as a gimmick. I fail to see how any positive review of this film isn't relying on exactly what the film relies on--the wonder that an entire cast & crew had the patience to take 12 years to film a "passion project."

    And just a project it surely is.
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  91. Sep 6, 2014
    7
    Really interesting film. Like the realistic feel of the film and natural story and dialogue. Feels like life. Good use of product placement to help show passage of time. Really enjoyed the relationships in this film especially the one between the father and the son. Could really connect with the characters especially in the first two thirds. The film is a little choppy at points and glosses over certain aspects of characters lives. The low point of the film is the last third which is generic and feels like every other teen movie out there. This is where you feel the films length. Put for what its worth I'm glad I saw it its a unique film that is worth checking out. Expand
  92. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    It's a unique movie for sure. An impressive 12 year, or so, project. After it was all said and done, I thought the film was pretty good. I was not blown away at all. I'd maybe give it a 7.5. A little long, I started to doze off towards the end. My wife and I were the only ones in the whole theater. I don't think many people are going to see this film, because no one is aware it exists.
  93. Oct 9, 2014
    10
    More of an experience than a movie. It was brilliant to see the cast grow and develop over twelve years. Last year the winner of best picture was 12 Years A Slave seems funny that Boyhood the front runner to this years race had its cast and crew be slaves to the film for 12 years.
  94. Sep 10, 2014
    2
    I am a fan of Linklater, but I am just not seeing the love for this movie. I will give this movie its due for not being about empty bs, but it's definitely a melodrama for most scenes, and with very performatory acting on top of it. There's not a lot of depth or nuance here.
  95. Sep 13, 2014
    10
    This is, right there, a top 5 movie in my opinion. It express from the normal issues to the most delicate of them and it feels good to watch. I just can't believe how ingenious the creator is, I mean this is history of art being made just in front of us. I belive my point is that I want to thank you all who have participated in the creation of this masterpiece, this kind of thing that keeps me believing in humankind. Expand
  96. Aug 31, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I will be very disappointed if this film wins the best picture academy award... it was a real downer for me... o.k.... but, not at all what I was hoping for... in fact, I was rooting for the girl who dumped he main character when she did.... and hated the mescaline induced ending... Expand
  97. Sep 18, 2014
    10
    Absolutely staggering achievement. How this movie exists is beyond me. Consider for a moment all of the elements that have to fall into place in order to walk away with a finished product. Then consider that Richard Linklater directed 8 other films during the process of making this movie. That's right. 8 OTHER MOVIES over the last 12 years, including Before Sunset, Before Midnight, School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly and Bernie. The man is a film god. Expand
  98. Aug 13, 2014
    8
    I am usually not a big fan of "documentary style" movies, which are an excuse for sloppy scriptwriting, poor editing and bad photography. Following the life of a boy from primary school until college may easily have fallen into the category, but it has none of the above problems.

    The main character is Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) literally "growing up in public". Arquette plays mom Olivia
    and Hawke is dad Mason Sr. Annoying Lorelei Linklater (the director's daughter) plays sister Sam. The script moves swiftly through some important moments in Mason Jr.'s life from age 6. Dad is often absent and has problems accepting "real" life, such as a normal job which would not fulfil his dream of becoming a famous musician. Mom tries to improve family life and fails, marrying an abusive drunkard professor.
    Mason Jr. is relocated a couple of times, losing his childhood friends and going through the difficulties of adolescence, compounded by mom's divorce, new job and new boyfriend.

    However, the best part of the movie for me was the normalcy of the situations. No super-drama, just ordinary life with the usual disappointments and small traumas (bullying at school, first love, etc…)
    Luckily we are spared Mason Jr.'s first sexual experience and explanations about what is going on in his head. We observe him and may be reminded of episodes from our own childhood, such as why our parents made us play the "game of silence". Anybody can find a familiar episode, which will probably remind us that there is just a limited number of "first" experiences in our life.

    Coltrane is fine as the young introverted boy, but I started to dislike him as a gloomy adolescent. I am not sure which part of it was acting. The scene with Mason Jr. and his girlfriend walking around Austin a whole night might have been an ideal link with the "Before" series, unfortunately Coltrane does not have much of the charisma and acting skills of Hawke.

    Finally, the first 2/3 of the movie move smoothly, but the story gets stuck towards the end, just when morose teenage Mason Jr. gets most screen time. Contrary to the "Before" series, I am definitely not interested in a follow-up.
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  99. Sep 30, 2014
    7
    It's just a simplest story of an American boy growing up..what so special in it..? the story is told in a good way, the cast is same during the whole time period, that's cool..But this doesn't make this movie a legend..!!
  100. Oct 12, 2014
    8
    You're watching a life develop inside of that screen and everything it carries and accompanies along its development is what you get to learn from it.
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.