Boyhood SPOILER-FREE Review


Boyhood is the experimental indie film that tells the tale of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) over the course of twelve years. I'm sure most people know this, but just to set the record straight, this movie was filmed over the course of 12 years. Starting in 2002, they filmed for about a week annually up until 2013. This has never been done before as entire movie in film history. As the film progresses, we see Mason growing and changing from childhood innocence to experimenting with alcohol, drugs and girls. This film pretty much just follows his life over the course of these 12 years as he endures certain hardships, like his mother's multiple marriages, keeping a relationship with his Dad who lives further away and just being a kid in the world. 

The evolution of Coltrane as Mason

A lot of this film resonated with me because of the way it was filmed. There were a lot of qualities that I could relate to, and for some audiences it probably didn't strike them the same way it did me. I thought that Coltrane was really good in the film. He's not an outstanding actor, but he did a great job supporting this film. What really stands out to me is the direction by Richard Linklater. He was the one was the glue for this film, that kept it all together. This was an experimental film and there were a million different ways this movie could have gone wrong but it turned out fantastic. A lot of that is because of him. I credit a lot of this movie's brilliance to him. It just blows me mind that this film could be filmed the way it was and that it could end up with a clear, coherent story. It's incredible.

Coltrane and Linklater

Let's talk about the supporting cast. Patricia Arquette played the mother of Mason and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). While I thought she was really good in the film, I don't think she is worthy of winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. A lot of people have her as the front-runner for the category but I don't think she was that good. She had some really good moments in the film, but she shouldn't win. I haven't seen all the actresses nominated in that category, so maybe she's the best out of all of them, but from what I saw in her performance, she wasn't good enough to win an Academy Award. I liked Ethan Hawke in this film more than I did Arquette. Hawke plays the kids' biological father, who lives further away. He tries to connect with his kids. At first, it's hard for him but we see him mature over the film (similar to Mason's maturation) into a respectable man who has a wife and a baby boy. He becomes more of a mentor to Mason than his mother, and teaches him what it means to be a man. I think the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor has J.K. Simmons name on it already, but I think Hawke is a better candidate to win than Arquette. 


To me, this film is really special. Not only does it tell a coherent story that was filmed in small increments over the course of twelve years, but it has a really well-written script that gives emotional value to the characters. This film could have easily just showcased that it was filmed over 12 years but been a mediocre film but it wasn't. It was a fantastic film that was enhanced by using the same actors over the course of this character's life. I think this movie is an achievement in film and a lot of credit goes to Linklater. 

I think Linklater will (and should) win for Best Director, and I think this film has an equal shot as winning Best Picture with Birdman. I think it is a marvelous film that not only achieves a nearly impossible filmmaking feat, but it tells a great story at the same time. I think this is a very, very special film.

8.7/10

What do you think? Have you seen Boyhood? Did you like it? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate
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