“Boyhood” is the highly acclaimed new film from writer-director Richard Linklater. This is the coming-of-age story of Mason, a Texas boy who we see grow from the age of 6 to going away to college. What makes “Boyhood” unique is that it was actually filmed over a 12-year period using the same actors. In this way, actor Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason, actually does grow up on camera, without the need for makeup or special effects. In addition, we see his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) grow up too.
Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play the parents of Mason and Samantha. Mom tries her best to raise the children, despite her sometimes desperate circumstances and two unsuccessful marriages. Eventually Mom gets her degree and teaches psychology at a college. As the movie opens, Dad returns from an extended trip to Alaska. Dad has charm and obviously cares about his kids. However, he is irresponsible and does not appear to support the kids financially, leaving that up to struggling Mom. Dad eventually settles down, marries, gets a job (I think) and has another child.
“Boyhood” is a collection of moments over the years, some harrowing (the violent outbursts of Mason’s first stepfather), some sweet (Mason walking alongside a girl on a bicycle who invites him to a party). Other moments are ordinary (first day in school); some are sad (Mom desperately trying to figure out how to raise her kids on her meager income).