I didn't see Boyhood in the theaters but as soon as it was released on Netflix, I received my copy. It lay on my floor for a couple of weeks because each time I reached for it, the thought of sitting for a three-hour movie seemed too much for a weeknight.
I was also concerned that I'd heard too much hype, with award nominations (and several wins) and other accolades pouring in before I saw it. I thought that I might find the concept - checking in with this boy for a few days each year over 12 years, and using the same cast - would result in something without soul. Boy, was I wrong.
The cumulative experience of watching a boy grow up, and watching his parents grow and watching everything around him grow and change, is utterly powerful. It crept up on me; I was engaged throughout, and could relate to the struggles of both the boy growing up and the (divorced) parents trying to cope, trying to grow. But I did not expect to burst into tears as the film ended, crumpling onto the floor, unable to console myself for a solid ten minutes.
Bravo to writer and director Richard Linklater, who truly took his time to make this study of a pivotal time in a boy's life. Bravo to Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason, the young lad we watch grow up, and to Ethan Hawke (Macbeth), who plays Mason's dad. And bravo to Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Patricia Arquette, whose portrayal of a mother trying to do right by her kids is raw, emotional and, seemingly, authentic.