Boyhood is an incredible achievement

Fact: You’ve never experienced a movie like Boyhood. Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking, coming-of-age story was filmed over the course of 12 years with the same cast. For the movie to have even made it to your cinema screen is an incredible achievement in itself. The fact that it manages to overcome the obvious obstacles of such a longterm project and deliver something so warm, emotional and true is practically miraculous.

Boyhood follows the story of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up onscreen before our eyes. Starting as a cute six-year-old and progressing to to his late teens, Coltrane gives a subtle, believable performance as he navigates his way through family life, step-fathers, siblings, girlfriends and school. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are similarly great as Mason’s parents – Hawke as the cool and fun weekend father and Arquette as the struggling mum who makes bad choices in men. Meanwhile newcomer Lorelei Linklater also literally grows into her role as his sister Samantha, initially the annoying, Britany Spears-singing enemy, before eventually becoming a friend.

The ups and downs of family life are portrayed perfectly through snapshots as the characters – and cast – age by over a decade. The film is nearly three hours in length but absolutely does not overstay its welcome. It remains engaging throughout, without feeling the need to over-embellish the story. This is a straightforward tale of ordinary family life told in a truly extraordinary way.

The story behind the making of Boyhood meant it was already the most interesting project to be released this year, so it’s especially pleasing that it will also be in many top ten lists for 2014. And deservedly so. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime movie.

Boyhood is out now in the US/UK and is released in Australia on September 4th. 

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend