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'Boyhood' review: A man twelve years in the making

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Patricia Arquette, and Richard Linklater pose at the premiere of "Boyhood."
Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Patricia Arquette, and Richard Linklater pose at the premiere of "Boyhood."
Photo by Jason Merritt

Boyhood

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

A story shot over more than ten years with the same cast, “Boyhood” impresses with its simple appearance but attentive details. Told through the eyes of observant Mason (Ellar Coltrane), writer/director Richard Linklater’s film conveys the common American growth of a young man with shocking finesse of storytelling.

Snippets of life events for a growing young man, “Boyhood” records defining moments as Mason matures. Experiencing the separation of his parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke), Mason and his sister Sam (Lorelei Linklater) find new friends as they move constantly and become cautious of their parents’ new partners, especially their mom’s drunken new husbands. Mason learns to express himself through his changing appearance and eventually photography. The film ends with Mason beginning college and reaching adulthood.

A series of footage shot over approximately twelve years, Linklater smartly creates blips in Mason’s life that build to create a whole image of this young man. Linklater subtly focuses on events that define the modern human experience; over time, Mason recognizes the faults and imperfections of his parents, (mostly) figures out what he wants in life, or at least which direction he wants to head, experiences his first love, receives enrichment at school and work, and develops a friendship with his sister, among other things. “Boyhood” is a complete presentation of the modern American childhood.

Yes, the unique and daring filming of the same actors over such a long time frame makes “Boyhood” what it is, but it is Richard Linklater’s masterpiece for its intelligent storytelling. Though the nearly three-hour film may not entertain the mass audiences, “Boyhood” earns greatness for being a time capsule of life.

Rating for “Boyhood:” A

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“Boyhood” is playing in five theatres in Columbus: Gateway, Drexel, Marcus Crosswoods, AMC Lennox and Dublin. For showtimes, click here.