(4,254)7.92 h 45 min2014X-RayR
This groundbreaking coming-of-age story, shot over 12 years with the same cast, follows the life of a ‘normal’ boy as he grows into a man before our eyes.
Richard Linklater
Ethan HawkePatricia ArquetteEllar Coltrane
DramaArts, Entertainment, and Culture
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Richard LinklaterCathleen SutherlandJonathan SehringJohn SlossSadra AdairVince Palmo Jr.Kirsten McMurray
IFC Films
R (Restricted)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

4254 global ratings

  1. 66% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

World on a PageReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
It felt unfinished, but I think that was the point
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(mild spoiler on the tone) I agree that the real character arc and story are not found in Mason's journey as much as in that of his (two original) parents. While we get to see them go from selfish people to really refined adults, Mason seems to just float through the movie as more of an observer who isn't changing all that much, except to be more gloomy, and his sister too. A part of me wonders if this isn't intentional and one of the keys to understanding the theme of this messy masterpiece. The question seems to be - "will the kids eventually reach the same refined, life-giving growth and adulthood that their parents are gradually learning to master, or will they even want to try at all?" Like most of us when we head for college, the kids are about to be hit with a predictable wake up call that will answer that question, but we will not get to see it. The movie ends right here just as we were told it would.

You might find a different theme than I did, but to me it was all the little standout moments where teachers and friends were pouring into Mason's life - and that ultimately that is what made the difference in helping the kids overcoming the trauma in their childhood and take up that mantel, but like so many young men and women in their teenage years, we are dealing with unfinished lives. I don't think, at the end of the film, that Mason has fully realized all that he's been given. Did any of us realize how much went into making us who we were at that age?

It does kind of feel like the movie is all over the place, with little vignettes of life making up the most striking and enduring of Mason's lifelong memories. A lot of reviewers on here felt like it didn't tie up nicely with a bow at the end - and that it should have. I felt this too at first, and to be honest, I didn't like the older Mason all that much, but I also realized I was left with the satisfying notion that because of the support of the people who really loved him, he's probably going to go on to become something great. It will be something like what we see in his dad, and most of us liked him. I thought the end brought us just to the edge of that sense of relief, but no further.

As an aside, I personally would have preferred less vulgar language by the main characters towards the end. The last fifteen minutes seemed to be just saturated with it and it didn't help me feel like they were rising above all the misery in their lives. I didn't mind it as much from the supporting characters. The movie's cute poster made me think the tone would be a little bit lighter, but expect more of the opposite. If that's all okay with you, you'll like Boyhood.
10 people found this helpful
kpdrumswritessingsReviewed in the United States on May 15, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
ignore the detractors if your tastes are broader than just the formulaic norm.
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This movie, despite the detractors here, is well worth the price and the hype. Of course for those who do not understand anything outside of the norm of modern American cinema- because it is not formulaic it may not appeal. The feat of filming the same actors over the given time span is ion itself noteworthy. For those who say it has no story, no plot... it is about life- People's lives.... and all of our lives are stories. They just aren't some fictional action film. This is about a family's journey, and to be honest- a very realistic view. I have known versions of every character- both in subtle and full blown versions. the guy who becomes the responsible adult when the right woman enters his life.... the woman who ends up with the wrong guy for stability..... the artistic kid who falls in love and keeps his convictions while his girl decides she wants something more shallow.
Not every story or every character has to be so in your face- this isn't a comic book action movie. This movie is very real. And it is very much worth the watch. I saw it in the theater and chose to buy it here as well. It deserves the nominations and awards.
36 people found this helpful
Adriana49Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Redefines the Genre
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So great it is hard to find words as original as the film itself. A masterpiece of understated yet powerful truths of childhood portrayed with such honesty and beauty. As the mother of a boy, who grew up so fast and away, everything resonated, everything was so perfectly real, so perfectly drawn, not a false moment, or emotion. I have the soundtrack, I own the video, and I treasure the experience of watching Mason grow up. One of the best films of all time, ever.
11 people found this helpful
nesteggfailuresReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is possibly the greatest film achievement in human history
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Don't let the idiots who get off on car crashes and 'splosions mislead you. This is possibly the greatest film achievement in human history. If you grew up in America in the 1970's or beyond, it's literally your life. The writing is so seamless and real, it doesn't even seem like a movie...the performances so true, it's hard to believe there was even a script. I thought I might've been swayed by something and rewatched to confirm - wept non-stop through the first 30 minutes before shutting it off. The fact that they filmed children for 12 years and the return of actors from earlier sequences is just a sidenote. The core of this is a testament to the human experience. And it delivers beyond compare. Not so much a movie as required reading for any generation.
14 people found this helpful
Battle Droid Model X-57Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The end feels like the beginning, and it's supposed to.
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This movie spoke to me in a way no other has before. The main character Mason, who I am only two years older than, not only lived a similar life I did in many ways, but having a chunk of the movie take place in Houston where I grew up was the icing on the cake. Everything about this movie felt real, the actors didn't seem like they were acting. Everything from character interactions, conversations, plot points, passing of time, all of it felt natural. It was almost as if someone just happened to be recording during random moments of these people's lives and it worked wonderfully. This movie is not an action thriller, romance or any other genre I can think of. The best way I can describe this movie is that it's life, that is the point of the movie, life and the painful joy it can bring. It capitalizes on the fleeting moments of time we get with those that we love before the inevitable winds of change roar through and blow us off course into an entirely new direction. And the ending... I loved the ending. Because the ending felt like it was all just getting started, like the end was the beginning. Our little Mason had grown and was just starting to live life on his own, coming to the realization that no matter what happens and how much time has passed, that everything is simply always "right now". And that hit hard. This is an absolutely beautiful film that not everyone will be into, but I urge you to give it a shot. If you can relate to Mason's upbringing on any level chances are this movie will suck you in from start to finish.
3 people found this helpful
florida momReviewed in the United States on April 26, 2015
3.0 out of 5 stars
yeah, the focus is on the boy but the characters that really do most of the growing are his parents
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While the concept is extremely interesting the acting by both the 'kids' was comatose. These kids go through divorce, abuse, alcoholism, heartbreak, drug use, moves, home displacement....oh, it goes on and on and all we get from either of them is a bleak look and a shrug.

The daughter, especially as she ages, seems less and less interested in being there. As a youngster, she seemed to have more of a personality (good scene where they're leaving their family home and she's saying goodbye to every item they have to leave behind). As a mom of two boys, I thought there would be some insightful takes on the growth of a boy into adulthood. It seemed more like a kid bending to the whims of one strong willed or messed up adult to another. I have to say, it seems odd to see two kids so compliant and basically 'along for the ride'. Most kids would not be 'whatever, we're moving' or 'whatever my mom's marrying some guy I don't know' or 'whatever my stepdad's a raging alcoholic and is beating on my mom'

The other side is we don't see the multitude of change at the hands of the adult actors effecting the personalities of these kids. They seem to be the same from start to finish, add a little mild drinking/drug use, a little goth eyeliner and temporary lack of career direction, but still the same.

Really, this movie should have been called 'adulthood' as the adult characters are who really grew up in this film. The dad, a wayward musician and deadbeat, finally finds his inner grownup and does ok embracing it and moving on to creating a family with his new wife. The mom, a woman seeking to provide a better life for her kids but still craves a partner at any cost, finally casts aside two alcoholic and abusive partners and learns to be happy with her own accomplishments and appreciate her wide and unique family inclusive of her ex and his wife and new kid. The grandma, who harbors deep resentment for the father of her grandkids, sees him with new eyes as he moves (a little late in life) to a more stable life with his new family and steady job.

It certainly wasn't a waste of time at all...just had to adjust my expectations of where the focus actually was, on the parents and how having kids shaped their decisions and lives.
14 people found this helpful
wanderlustReviewed in the United States on July 12, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Expands the art of film, likely to become a film classic.
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It is a simple premise - watching a family interact and grow over time. But, if you are in the mood for a film that requires many stunt doubles, green screens, lots of action and explosions, this is not that film. If you want silly humor, a romantic comedy, or Shakespear dialog, this is not that film. But if you want to see a film with a real heart, and be touched by it, this is that film. At the same time you are witnessing true art.

This is an example of challenging an art medium to take it to new places that no other form can go. It may already be one of the most important films in a long time. I'm guessing time will deem this not only a classic; but, a redefintion of what a classic can be.

It is well acted by the entire ensemble who with crew showed amazing commitment. You just know each person at one point said, "is this worth it? Can I get out? OK, I'll keep going. Let's hope it comes out to be something." It is amazing the camera-work and cinematography felt consistent through the whole film and the editing was superb bridging transitions. It is a hearty experience that will remain in your memories.
9 people found this helpful
Garth R. MailmanReviewed in the United States on January 30, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
More sociology study than drama
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Most actors commit themselves to a 3-6 month shoot with the possibility of the need for scenes to be reshot. The principals in this movie made a twelve-year commitment to a recurrent project. Seemlessly we see Ellar Coltrane grow from a 5-year-old to 18-year-old manhood college-bound. The others who follow Mason on this journey are the actors who play his Mother, his sister, and Ethan Hawke who plays his biological Father. We see hair styles change, limbs lengthen until ‘mother’ looks up at son, beards and moustaches come and go and hair show signs of greying.

Intelligence is no guarantee of wise decisions and Mason watches mom marry and divorce three husbands resulting in too many moves to count. Where his Father is concerned the child is father of the man. Though a recurring presence in Mason’a life the child who fathered a son remains very much a dilettante throughout. Mother’s and Sister’s growth are not neglected. These characters are more than props. An interesting sociological study, a decent movie. I probably need to watch it again. The DVD provides no extras and the previews are execrable.

Watched it the second time. Mason is a left-lane hog just like his father. The movie has teenage sex, underage drinking, drugs. The director cast his own daughter.
7 people found this helpful
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