Written and directed by Richard Linklater, "Boyhood" is a remarkable achievement in so many ways. The film focuses on Mason, a 6 year old boy living an ordinary life and was shot in sections over a 12 year period. We watch Mason, his actor parents, played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette and everyone else in the film age naturally over the course of 12 years.
The screenplay was written as the film was shot to match each time period so all the dialog and references are authentic to the appropriate year. The editing is flawless and you get the sense you are watching a 12 year documentary rather than a scripted story. The film itself runs almost three hours and captures moments big and small in Mason's life. There is nothing in the story that is sensational or manipulative. Everything is rather ordinary but the screenplay focuses on the little details that make even an ordinary life, extraordinary.
When the film starts Mr. Hawke and Ms. Arquette are divorced and Mason and his sister (Played by Lorelei Linklater, the director's daughter) live with their mother. Mr. Hawke gets the kids every other weekend. Characters come and go and more importantly grow in many ways as the film progresses.
Ellar Coltrane plays Mason and being privy to the intimacy of his life from 6 to 18 is fascinating. Yes, the film is scripted but Mr. Coltrane and the rest of the cast are so natural, you feel like a voyeur in his life and once the film ends, you will find yourself wishing for a sequel. What happens next is left to the imagination but credit Mr. Linklater for stimulating us and looking at life through his lens in a new and captivating way.