Boyhood's focus is on newcomer Ellar Coltrane's Mason. It tracks him from first grade to high school graduation. Throughout, you're treated to pieces of the lives of his parents played with natural ease by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, and his sister, who is nicely played by writer/director Richard Linklater's real life daughter Lorelei.
A lot of critics want to know everything about a movie before they give it a view. My philosophy is to not know much about a movie before screening. My take often leads to some nice surprises.
I knew Linklater's Boyhood was about a 12-year period in the life of a boy and his family. The nice surprise -- and one you won't have -- was that he actually shot the film over 12-years using the same cast.
Linklater is best known for his 1970s generation defining Dazed and Confused. His career after has been spotty. Sometimes -- like in Waking Life, his most brilliant documentary on the world's religions and philosophies -- Linklater's concepts work. Other times, like with the acclaimed but boring Before Sunrise, After Sunset or After Midnight, he's not so good.
Boyhood is a brilliant, complex and creative character study and one that puts Linklater's career back on the genius track.
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It's playing at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.