The first thing you will notice about the little boy is his eyes: an interesting shade of blue. As the movie goes on, those eyes stay present on-screen: the reason for this being that Boyhood was filmed from 2002-2013 with the same group of actors - a rare occurrence, indeed. The newest from Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) is very unique, and took about twelve years to complete; we literally see Ellar Coltrane and the actress playing his sister grow up on screen, and it's quite a sight to behold.
The film starts off when Mason Jr. (Coltrane) is five or six years old. His mom (Patricia Arquette) and dad (Ethan Hawke) are divorced, but his dad comes to pick up he and his sister, Sam (Lorelei Linklater), every other weekend or so. They soon move to Houston, where his mom enrolls in college classes and eventually marries one of her professors, Bill (Marco Perella), and they form a "Brady Bunch"-esque clan with him and his two kids. After the marriage goes sour, they move again; their mom marries again; and life goes on - to say any more would be to have to describe the entire movie.
I cannot think of a single performance in this film that wasn't strong. It's very interesting to see how Arquette and Hawke age on screen (to give you an example, Arquette would have been 34 in real life when the movie starts, and is now 46), and I wonder if it will be the same way for them as well, when they watch it. Mason and his sister, Sam, are practically babies when the movie starts (he's 5 or 6, she's a little older, maybe 8 or 9) too, and when the film ends Mason is 18, having just graduated from high school.
Yes, definitely see this film. It's out on August 1st at the Main Art (Royal Oak - locally) and is out today across the country. I'll warn you that it's very long - about 2 hours 46 minutes - and 20 minutes or so could have been shaved off, but otherwise, its runtime is deserved; we are basically living an entire person's life. I liked how the movie really did seem like real life; in one scene in particular, Hawke's character wants to talk to his kids about the "birds and the bees" (Sam is about 13 or 14 then), and she keeps making faces whenever he brings up aspects of it, which was funny. We see everyone's wrong choices, everyone's right choices, and the choices that lead them down their life paths; and for Mason, these choices - both his and others - help define his future.
Boyhood is in select theaters today, July 11th (opens locally at the Main Art Theater on August 1st), and is rated R with a runtime of 166 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.