Universal acclaim - based on 49 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 351 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 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: 49 out of 49
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 49
  3. Negative: 0 out of 49
  1. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jul 9, 2014
    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: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 26, 2014
    Unshakable, witty and deeply felt, the film will be paying emotional dividends for a long, long time.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 7, 2014
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 10, 2014
    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: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 17, 2014
    As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, Boyhood isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 30, 2014
    In its own quiet way, it’s a world of marvels.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Jun 15, 2014
    Richard Linklater's film is an experiment in time, and one that's attentive to the audience's sense of empathy.

See all 49 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 94
  2. Negative: 16 out of 94
  1. Aug 15, 2014
    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!
  2. Jul 22, 2014
    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
  3. Jul 11, 2014
    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. Collapse
  4. Jul 14, 2014
    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.
  5. Aug 12, 2014
    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. Expand
  6. Aug 10, 2014
    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
  7. Aug 8, 2014
    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.

See all 94 User Reviews


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