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

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Universal acclaim- based on 365 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: 73 out of 99
  2. Negative: 16 out of 99
  1. Aug 11, 2014
    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
  2. Jul 17, 2014
    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
  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 20, 2014
    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
  5. Aug 3, 2014
    The events seemed generic, too typical, and predictable. Which pushed the movie into territory that was so familiar as to feel cliched. There was zero dramatic tension, it just meandered on to a few beautiful landscape shots. Shooting over such a long period- interesting process. Expand
  6. Sep 2, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. There were some really beautiful and insightful moments in Boyhood...very brief ended by hours of mind-numbing nothingness. Unfortunately, overall, it feels like Linklater turned out the equivalent of breaking out some dusty photo albums and showing them to strangers who don't have much in the way of contextual background. The characters are generally have no depth and aren't particularly like-able.

    It was a neat project. I applaud the effort and the idea. It really just doesn't work as far as making a great film. It was good...or it was better than OK, and the novelty added a bit more spice to the otherwise bland movie. The critics are going to LOVE this movie!

    I love the idea of the movie. I even love the moments that took me back to relive some of my own childhood. It just felt like it belonged in an extended (and probably very boring) Lifetime Network television series instead of crammed into a movie that was more than just a little disjointed.

    I read somewhere (I wish I could quote where) that Linklater really avoided cliches with this movie. He was either lying to the author of the article or himself. His main character, Mason, Jr., ended up becoming the Indie movie darling stereotype...Brooding, disaffected, artist, loner, philosopher...who somehow scored a Photography scholarship to college after giving every indication he might fail out of school due to magic...Ugh.

    The fact that this is fiction and not a documentary following a real family for 12 years makes it even more frustrating...Where is the story? Where is the character development?
  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 99 User Reviews


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