This deeply moving coming-of-age film explores the life of an ordinary boy transformed by the world around him. Linklater uses the same actors over 12 years, allowing us to see the protagonist, Mason, literally grow up in front of our eyes. The character progression is seamless: going from junior school through to college, the sequence of events makes it hard not to feel that you have grown up alongside him.
The film has been highly acclaimed by the mainstream, as well as leftists and even feminists. Some of feminists have wondered why Linklater never made Girlhood. Yet as Judy Berman acknowledges in a review written from a strong feminist perspective:, “As a woman, I’ve learned to pretty much assume I’ll feel excluded from the inevitably male stories everyone is supposed to relate to, and was surprised to find that Boyhood didn’t alienate me at all.”
To its great credit, Boyhood is as much a portrait of the kids’ mother (Patricia Arquette), a woman who struggles thanklessly to make a life and a family for her kids, as it is of her son.
The movie ends with a fantastic scene in which four newly befriended college roommates, stoned in the mountains, discuss whether people don’t seize moments, but rather moments seize them.
Boyhood is one a rare phenomenon, a film that is universal in its appeal. Do yourself a favour go and see it.