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

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Universal acclaim- based on 346 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: 69 out of 93
  2. Negative: 16 out of 93
  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. Expand
  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 1, 2014
    What has brought a lot of attention to “Boyhood” is the fact that the director/writer Richard Linklater took 39 days in 12 years to film this picture. He used the same boy, Ellar Coltrane, same girl, Lorelei Link later (yes, the director’s daughter) plus the main adult actors such as Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as Coltrane’s divorced parents. The film is fiction covering a period of time from when Coltrane was 6-7 and Linklater was a couple of years older until we see the latter off at college and Coltrane, at 18, graduating from high school and he too is going off to college. We watch these two children grow into adults, physically, as they did in real life. Whether the same technique was used with Hawke and Arquette is hard to tell as they were/at the age actors don’t change too much physically.

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

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

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

    This is a work director/screenplay writer Richard Linklater should be proud of and will be very involved with awards time.
  7. Aug 6, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ugly downer with alcohol abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. This isn't childhood. It's a bait and switch. They sell you on a movie about a boy growing up and turn it into a display of the worst of human behavior. Disgusting and not worth watching. Expand

See all 93 User Reviews


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