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100

Universal acclaim - based on 50 Critics What's this?

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7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1074 Ratings

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  • Summary: Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents andFilmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before and is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. [IFC Films] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 50
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 50
  3. Negative: 0 out of 50
  1. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    Like Michael Apted in his "Seven Up!" documentary series, Linklater makes you feel as if you're watching a photograph as it develops in the darkroom.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    It's the selective but cumulative use of seemingly arbitrary but significant experiences that gives Boyhood its distinctive character and impressive weight.
  3. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 7, 2015
    100
    There’s not a great theme, a great performance or even a great scene in Boyhood. But I think it might be a great picture.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    On rare occasions a movie seems to channel the flow of real life. Boyhood is one of those occasions. In its ambition, which is matched by its execution, Richard Linklater's endearing epic is not only rare but unique.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jul 17, 2014
    100
    Once in a great while I see a movie I know I’ll be listing as one of my all-time favorites for the rest of my days. So it is with this remarkable, unforgettable, elegant epic that is about one family — and millions of families. It’s a pinpoint-specific and yet universal story.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 30, 2014
    100
    This bold movie may sound like a stunt, but it’s so much more than that. Linklater is an effortless, genial auteur, and his passions are woven through “Dazed and Confused,” “School of Rock” and the “Before Sunrise” trilogy. Here, his mellow groove becomes an everyday rhythm.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Jun 15, 2014
    75
    Richard Linklater's film is an experiment in time, and one that's attentive to the audience's sense of empathy.

See all 50 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 72 out of 258
  1. Dec 26, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Easily the best movie I have watched in a long time. It's deep, thoughtful, realistic, but not heavy-handed. I like how there's really no moral to the story. As someone who had a somewhat disjointed childhood (like Mason), this is what actually happens. When you grow up, things are generally fine. You bear some scars from the experience but overall you just move on. Expand
  2. 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 theA 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
  3. 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 theA 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
  4. Jan 27, 2015
    8
    This definitely is film history and one people should watch. It may not be the most exciting film to watch, or the most interesting, but as iThis definitely is film history and one people should watch. It may not be the most exciting film to watch, or the most interesting, but as i found with the film Inside Llyewn Davis it is a nice and pleasant viewing experience. And that's what this film is: an experience. The 12 years of filming works meticulously well and really helps develop the characters as real people. The film is about growing up, and the reason the message and work comes across so well is because that's literally what happens: they grow up. Other films that try this with different actors don't really work and you find them a little too boring or sentimental, but this film works with the growing up mechanic so well that you can really relate to the film even if you don't follow a life like the one portrayed in the film. I must say the acting is pretty solid pretty much from the get go, but the character Sam i found a little bit obvious as not being a real person. However, all the other actora felt genuine, and that's why i felt i connected with this film. A must watch. Expand
  5. Feb 15, 2015
    6
    Boyhood is groundbreaking because it took 12 years to film, but the end result is a movie that is far from satisfying. With a 2 hours 45Boyhood is groundbreaking because it took 12 years to film, but the end result is a movie that is far from satisfying. With a 2 hours 45 minute run time, the film is much too long. I can only surmise that director Richard Linklater became so personally invested in the film that he was unable to leave anything on the cutting room floor.

    The film is a story is about the life of an adolescent boy, Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his slightly older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). You get to watch them grow up from about age 6 until they leave home for college. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play their divorced parents.

    Throughout his boyhood, Mason is subdued and reserved. There are no milestones in his life to celebrate, no tragedies to mourn, no joyous moments, no outbursts of anger; just long periods of monotonous existence. His life is like that of a rubber duck on a river. He simply goes where the river of life takes him. The currents and eddies periodically trap him and then take him further downstream. I waited in anticipation for fate to intervene, for tragedy to strike, for something - anything - to happen! Instead, watching Mason evolve into an adult was sort of like watching paint dry.

    The lives of Mom, Dad and Sister are equally unsatisfying to watch. Samantha has a bigger, naturally ebullient personality, than her brother but the film focuses almost exclusively on Mason and we end up knowing almost nothing about her life.

    Dad cares about his kids but is a late bloomer and, at least initially, is pretty rough around the edges when it comes to parenting. He sees his kids on weekends, tries hard to engage them in conversation, and gives them the kind of talks that you would expect from a Dad in a movie like Sixteen Candles. The speeches come across as odd because Dad lives with a professional musician in a dirty apartment complete with empty beer bottles, cigarette butts and a little drug paraphernalia. Thus, his words are completely incongruent with the life that he lives.

    Mom’s life is like a twisted version of Ground Hog Day. She goes back to college, begins dating her professor and ends up marrying him. Over time he becomes an angry alcoholic. Mom leaves him and moves the kids to another part of Texas. Mom then becomes a community college professor, starts dating one of her students, and ends up marrying him. Rinse and repeat. Ultimately, Mom ends up alone and, as Mason leaves for college, wonders if this is all that life has to offer.

    Minutes after Mason arrives at college he meet a girl, takes a mind altering drug, goes on a hike, watches the sun set, and realizes that he is happy. The ending is a lot like nouvelle cuisine at a highly popular restaurant: The wait is too long and what arrives on the plate is too little to be truly enjoyable.
    Expand
  6. 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 theI 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.
    Expand
  7. Feb 21, 2015
    0
    There was absolutely no plot to this movie except to have a few subliminal political messages continually bashing Bush, Fox News andThere was absolutely no plot to this movie except to have a few subliminal political messages continually bashing Bush, Fox News and Republicans, while at the same time flaunting sex, alcohol and drug use by minors, while a hard working Mom gets constantly abused by the men in her life. It was like watching a liberal campaigning for office bringing up just about every liberal hot topic to push down the throats of its viewers. As expected, because of this the liberal media and Hollywood will love this movie, hence all the Oscar nominations.

    It would be nice to see a movie that had no political overtones (liberal or conservative) to it be nominated once in a while, but that is not what drives Hollywood.

    With that being said, it was a brilliant idea to film these characters over an 11-12 year period. There was just no storyline and it ended making you fell like you were waiting for there to be some type of conclusion and/or wondering if you missed something. After watching the movie a 2nd time, I realized I did not miss anything, because there was nothing to miss. There was no point to this movie except for watching the characters grow up physically. A complete waste of time-twice!
    Expand

See all 258 User Reviews

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