Boyhood – reviews of Richard Linklater's 'astonishing' drama

Jul 11, 2014

Critics dub coming-of-age tale filmed over 12 years 'an unassuming masterpiece'

What you need to know

Richard Linklater's new drama Boyhood, opens in UK cinemas today. Writer-Director Linklater, best known for his Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series, shot the film intermittently over a period of 12 years.

Boyhood tells the story of a divorced couple, Mason (Ethan Hawke) and Olivia (Patricia Arquette), raising their son Mason Junior (Ellar Coltrane). It follows 12 years in young Mason's life, from six to 18, as boy becomes man and faces life's challenges.

What the critics like

Linklater's beautiful film is an extraordinary achievement — "tender, funny, wise and wistful, full of warmth and humanity", says Liz Beardsworth in Empire. While boyhood is the central theme, it has as much to say about being a grown-up as being a child.

Linklater's extraordinary, deeply moving film is "an astonishing achievement" and a beautiful movie, says Xan Brooks in The Guardian. It's lovingly assembled and acted with such grace and ease that it scarcely looks like acting at all.

"Boyhood makes us feel euphoric about movies, about their mystery, their power, their ability to move us to laughter and tears," says Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. It's an unassuming masterpiece.

What they don't like

"Mason's isn't the perfect childhood nor is this the perfect film," says Amber Wilkinson in the Daily Telegraph. The filmmaking matures with Mason, as soapier elements are ditched in favour of fresh observations on growing up, and ultimately its flaws make it interesting and help magnify its strengths.

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