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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 1239 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
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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: 81 out of 286
  1. Nov 28, 2014
    10
    If you can't already tell by the overwhelming praise this film has received, Richard Linklater has sculpted a masterpiece. Every single secondIf you can't already tell by the overwhelming praise this film has received, Richard Linklater has sculpted a masterpiece. Every single second of this movie tells the story of what shaped the main character Mason with suck striking fluidity that has never been achieved in the realm of cinema. I can proudly say I witnessed this masterpiece in theaters and since then have seen it 7 different times. Although this movie captures the essence of the American childhood, anybody anywhere can relate to the life of Mason Junior. There is a part in near the beginning of the film where Mason finds a dead bird in his backyard, you can tell just by looking at his face that exactly what the child realized, that nothing anywhere can live forever, no matter how high you can fly. Every performance in the movie is spot-on, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette seem to learn just as much from Mason Jr. as Mason has learned from them. Speaking personally, I can relate to every seen in this film having grown up with divorced parents and viewing life from a perspective similar to Mason's. Linklater speaks to an entire generation of dreamers and children everywhere. I could take up the entire 5000 character max limit just by talking about the cinematography of the film but I won't bore anyone who actually stuck around this long to read my personal opinion, but I will say this; every child about to graduate high school deserves to sit down with both of their parents (or guardians) and let Linklater take you on a reflective journey of what it really means to grow up. Oh and before I close, 69 people on this website that posted negative reviews and the 22 people that wrote mixed reviews all need TO GET THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR ASSES and truly appreciate this work of art for what it really is, LIFE ITSELF. Expand
  2. Jan 18, 2015
    10
    For me it doesn't get much better than this. Zero melodrama. No annoying crescendos. Just some poignant moments in people's life. NothingFor me it doesn't get much better than this. Zero melodrama. No annoying crescendos. Just some poignant moments in people's life. Nothing added. Nothing taken away. Fantastic writing! 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. 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,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
  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. Jan 20, 2015
    3
    It's fun to see how the character played by the same actor develops in the film. But in my opinion the experiment did not produced positiveIt's fun to see how the character played by the same actor develops in the film. But in my opinion the experiment did not produced positive outcomes, what you are left with is with a movie without any feeling with mediocre acting and even worse writing. It is unbelievable that this much effort and time was invested so we could compare a movie with looking at a family's photo album.

    I don´t recommend watching this movie, a complete waste of my time.
    Expand
  7. Feb 24, 2015
    0
    This is one of the worst movies I have seen in years. I had to fight myself to finish it. I agree with all the comments that this was anThis is one of the worst movies I have seen in years. I had to fight myself to finish it. I agree with all the comments that this was an ambitious project. Twelve years to make a movie is, if nothing else, an exercise in patience. I think it is an admirable accomplishment with the best of intentions. However, all the effort provided absolutely zero benefit to the lackluster story. The story started bad, then it got worse. I can see no other reason for all the positive reviews accept for the fact that it was such an ambitious project. All the ambition in the world did not make the product any good. Using the same actors as the children aged did not add any value to the movie. What was the point? It was just a bad story. What makes in more annoying is that they had twelve years to put together a good movie and this is what we got!? I have nothing against Patricia Arquette but her performance was certainly not worthy of any specific notoriety. The only reason she got an oscar was for commitment to the film but certainly not for her performance. It has been a long time since I have been mad that I wasted time on a movie but today, I see my streak is over. I am flat out pissed that I wasted my time on this movie. What a complete disappointment and waste of a free Red Box coupon code! Expand

See all 286 User Reviews

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