Review by Mark Schwab
I first viewed this film at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and it still invades my thoughts. I revisited my original review and stand by every word.
"Boyhood" is the newest film from Richard Linklater - probably the most prolific "quirky" filmmaker - who makes deeply personal projects seemingly always on his own terms. From the "Sunrise" series (Before, Sunset and Midnight), to "Waking Life" to "Dazed and Confused" to "Tape" to "Bernie", Linklater runs the gamut and his films are always original and interesting with a keen eye for sharp dialogue.
But I can firmly say here and now though that "Boyhood" is Linklater's masterpiece. It's his Citizen Kane, his 2001, his Apocalypse Now, his Raging Bull. It simply blows everything he's ever done right out of the water.
This project was the very definition of ambitious filmic risk; he began shooting with his cast in 2002 and reunited with them every year for the next 12 years to continue his epic saga of a family's life challenges. So lead actor Ellar Coltrane starts the film at age 6 and by the end of the film, he is a real 18 years old. Having this cast age for real in this movie is utterly absorbing. It's different. It casts some weird kind of spell that just wouldn't happen by casting different actors to represent them at different ages. It's like electricity - I don't know how it works, I just know that it does.
Linklater's film runs 2 hours and 41 minutes and it earns every minute on the screen. I wouldn't dream of going into any real detail, lest you be denied the surprises of actual life that unfold in this family. But I will say this - there are laughs, there are tears, and there are shocks...but there isn't a single false note or contrived scene. I'll say it again - "Boyhood" is a masterpiece. It is not to be missed and deserves to be seen in a movie theatre with a full audience. "Boyhood" is currently scheduled for a June 2014 release.