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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 456 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 60 out of 456

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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
    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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  3. 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 .
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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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  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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
  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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
  25. 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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  26. 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.
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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.
  39. 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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  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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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  44. 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.
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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.
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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.
  51. 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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  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. Aug 15, 2014
    10
    I was really proud of Richard Linklater works. It's really a biggest, sad, great, and the best-of-the-best movies, i ever watched! I cry alot like watching "The Fault in Our Stars" (too late for doing that review, but whatever...). If there is 1000/1000, I will give this good movie a 1000 score, but man, i think thats too much.....
  55. Sep 22, 2014
    10
    The films greatest strength lies in how ordinary, yet at the same time, unique it is. The dialogue feels very natural, nothing about the film drags on for too long, and it doesn't resort to the usual Hollywood cliches. It's definitely one of the more touching experiences I've had at the cinema.
  56. Sep 5, 2014
    10
    Smart, moving, and profoundly realistic, Boyhood is not just the best picture of the year, but the defining film of a generation.

    When someone tells me "words cannot express..." I typically laugh at the absurdity. As a writer, I conceitedly believe that there are always words for everything. However, I must bow to this cliché. Words cannot express what I think of Richard Linklater's
    Boyhood. Given that it's been a little over 12 hours since I saw the film and I'm still speechless, I ask you to bear with me in this review. I WILL MONOLOGUE! To state that Boyhood is the best film of a year that's not but ¾ of the way through is a stretch, but I find myself limber in this instance. Boyhood is the best film of the year. Now time to stretch some more... Boyhood is the best film of the decade. Still limber. No stretching needed. This movie is THAT incredible.

    It all began with an innovative idea from the already innovative Richard Linklater. What if we see a family grow and age through the eyes of a child? And what if we shot it in real-time? From there a spark was ignited and eventually came to a glorious flame. We do see a family age, for 12 years! This idea is already a selling point for the film, but then throw in Mr. Linklater's usual touch of heart and authenticity and you'll have something undeniably special. You'll have an intimate epic. A film that is so large in a technical scale, and equally large in emotional sale is something hardly seen. Especially in the past 12 years. So when Boyhood premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, there was a lot hype. And this excitement hasn't expired after several months. Instead it has grown. It has travelled through America crafting an astute reputation for the film to follow. So for film-goers like myself, who live in small, un-artistic towns, find ourselves overwhelmed with praise for a film we must wait for. And we did. I personally waited a full month-and-a-half for this film to hit El Paso. But 6 weeks is nothing compared to 12 years, so I shall cease my complaining. Instead I shall say this, Boyhood's reputation precedes itself.

    To scrutinize the plot would be to write an 11-15 page review. There is so much going on within each year of the film that the 12 year story is impossible to break down into a simple synopsis. After the first 12-15 minutes of the movie, the film cuts to a new year, 2003, and we find the characters have moved on from the last. This process is continued t

    There is something so psychologically groundbreaking about this film. Never before has a film been so relatable, so memorable, and so poignant. As each year appears on the screen, we the audience subconsciously immerse ourselves into the same time period. We recall what we thought and did in that year, and find ourselves nostalgic. This feeling is especially effective for members of Mason's generation, like myself. We recall the same thought patters and experiences Mason goes through as we went through them. With this intimacy, we find ourselves reliving our childhood. This beautiful feeling is something no other film has caused. This is why Boyhood is so groundbreaking, because it is able to captivate its audience and allow us to have a relationship with it. What Mr. Linklater has done is not only craft a work of art, but allow the audience to view the crafting of the work of art. Brick by brick, line by line, side by side, for anybody involved in this film, whether it be the filmmakers or the audience members, there is an intimate, one-on-one feeling that transcends both time and reality. And for that, we are indebted to the filmmakers. Being Mason's age myself, I find Boyhood to be a very special film that is incredibly close to my heart. As I sat in the theater, watching Mason head off to college, I suddenly realized that that was me. I too had just transitioned into adulthood, and started a new chapter in my life.

    Epic in both a technical and an emotional scope, Boyhood defines a generation by allowing the audience to go on their own intimate journey with the characters. Though the film is a rough 3 hours long, you feel as if it lasts the whole 12 years, simply because you are reliving the period yourself. And when it ends, you feel that the whole 12 years was a simple 3 hours, because life's that fast. Boyhood is the type of movie you don't want to end because there is something so deep in the connection it made with you. To stretch again... Boyhood is the best film of the year. Boyhood is the best film of the decade. Boyhood is one the greatest films in the history of cinema. This I can say with no reservation. Boyhood is one of the most unique, personal, and authentic films I have ever encountered. A true classic.
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  57. Sep 11, 2014
    10
    Movie is total crap...10/10 crap crapasodkvdsoiaow[idvs[dvji[psdfafjkpsjafs[io [lkCDLaknc'lKDM'sk.dmal'KSNDAL;SKNDALSKNClas'kcnlaksncla'skCN;LSAKNC;SALKCN;lkcn
  58. Sep 16, 2014
    9
    Sometimes movies are bland, boring, rushed and nonsensical. They are made to turn an investment into profit. Other times a story is so rich that is carves a small place in your heart, nudged fondly beside the classics.

    And in truth, with no exaggeration, Boyhood is a modern classic.

    Three months have passed since my first screening as part of NovaStream’s coverage of the Sydney Film
    Festival. Before the film a scruffy teen walked in front of a theatre of thousands and waved awkwardly. The star of the film, Ellar Coltrane, was on another leg of his world tour after widespread acclaim at the Sundance International Film Festival. He didn’t appear to be a rockstar or a bigwig actor. He just seemed like an extremely genuine and humble person. The lights dimmed and he shuffled offstage and did not return.

    The acclaim is universal. Rotten Tomatoes awards Boyhood 99%, the same rate as the Wizard of Oz and one step down from Citizen Kane and Toy Story 2 and one above Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It has won multiple awards at Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Seattle and San Francisco International Film Festivals. A previous cover photo on the film’s Facebook page lists reviewers quotes beginning with “the best film of the…”. USA Today said the summer, Rolling Stone gave it a year, The Guardian believed a decade and The New York Times stated the century. At the end of the century they may be correct.

    Filming occurred usually four days a year over twelve years, with Ellar Coltrane originally portraying a six year old child and gradually growing into an adult on screen. This allows the scope of the film to be far greater and the narrative to flow more authentically, save casting a different actor for the schoolyard scenes and the college scenes. The aesthetic of the film also shifts almost glacially, from fashion to furniture to language to politics. One thing that stood out for me was the technology, progressing from a Gameboy to a PlayStation 3 to an XBOX One seamlessly. Not even the set designers of Downton Abbey could replicate this level of detail.

    Many elements of Coltrane’s real-life slipped into the film too, including his first car, his piercings and a bad string of acne he chose not to cover up. Director Richard Linklater (School of Rock) stated he never asked Coltrane to do something he knew the actor hadn’t previously experienced.

    The four primary characters are Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane), his mother Olivia (Medium’s Patricia Arquette), his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, daughter of director Richard Linklater) and Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke, Predestination). Their plot is simple – make it through as best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.

    For Olivia in particular this is heartbreaking as a string of unhealthy and outright dangerous relationships culminates in a confronting scene between herself and Mason. The film is not a depressant though. There are comedy bites here and there and the tone is generally upward, especially in scenes with Mason Sr. Ethan Hawke is a fiercely talented actor and his secondary plot gives his a nice avenue, transforming the musician father with a muscle car into a worker with a minivan. At the beginning of Boyhood the adults are only slightly older than the children at the film’s conclusion. There is definitely a full circle trope going on.

    There is an intangible warmth to the film that cannot be assigned to the everyday blockbuster. Each shot looks like a painting and there is an obtuse or inventive shot to enhance the story. The edit is smoother and kinder. A great deal of care went into every detail of this film.

    Due to the original filming method the financiers were limited and contracts were zilch. It was the cast’s prerogative each and every year to return and each of the primary cast have called this their ‘cool summer camp’ despite having other films and television shows in progress.

    While I would easily rank this inside by top five films of all time, there is one beat that struck me foul. A conversation between Mason and a high school photographer teacher about the difference between potential and actuality was immensely irritating. It felt redundant and shoehorned.

    Aside from that, the scope, commitment of all involved, acting talent and direction all make for a compelling adventure. The international releases are still rolling out with Paramount International acquiring the rights to a hopefully broader home release.

    Boyhood is screening in limited release now.
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  59. Sep 18, 2014
    9
    First thing to know about this movie is that it is different. And I'm not talking about being filmed over 12 years with the same actors. More importantly, this movie is extremely understated and there is no discernible plot besides 12 years in the life of a boy and his family. Thus, there are no arcs and climaxes - this movies IS plodding, as some have described it. This movie is first and foremost about life and in being so moves at the pace of life - not the pace of a hollywood blockbuster.

    That's not to say there is no rhyme or reason to this movie. There is no defined plot but the scenes are not random. The movie is a collection of vignettes which build on each other and important aspects of life are all there but none of them are so overwhelming to replace the central theme which is simply life. In this sense, Boyhood is a profound achievement.

    I finished watching this movie with a lingering and deep sense of emotion and reflection. I don't really know how to describe it but I feel like every other movie I've watched before this one was relatively contrived or overproduced. I think this is the power of this movie.
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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.