Todd MCarthy on Boyhood:
A unique work in American cinema, shot in 39 days over the course of 12 years, Boyhood is an epic about the ordinary: growing up, the banality of family life, and forging an identity. Everything here has been seen in movies and on television countless times before — marital spats, a divorced dad trying to connect with kids he sporadically sees, teenagers acting out, parents having to let go — but perhaps never has the long arc of the journey from childhood to college been portrayed as cohesively and convincingly as Richard Linklater has done in a film that can be plain on a moment-to-moment basis but is something quite special in its entirety.
Indiewire’s Eric Kohn:
Twelve years ago, Richard Linklater started production on a movie following the development of a child from the age of seven through the end of his teenage years. If there was ever project that demanded to be informed by the history of its making, “Boyhood” is it. Epic in scope yet unassuming throughout, Linklater’s incredibly involving chronicle marks an unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling — the closest point of comparison, Michael Apted’s “Up” documentaries, don’t represent the same singularity of vision. Shot over the course of 39 days spread across more than a decade, “Boyhood” is an entirely fluid work that puts the process of maturity under the microscope and analyzes its nuances with remarkable detail.
The key to “Boyhood” lies with the smallness of its story, which revolves around the plight of Texan native Mason (Ellar Coltrane) along with his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and their divorced parents, Mason Sr. and Olivia (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette). As we watch this quartet consistently age during the movie’s justifiable 164 minute length, the subtle qualities of change become steadily crystallized. At its center, Mason’s growth allows Coltrane to fully inhabit his character through the accumulation of his experiences and their recurring impact on his expanding awareness. As a child, he and his sister witness their parents’ unruly separation from a limited perspective before getting whisked away by their mother to a new life in Houston.
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