Free of Spoilers
Written: July 18th, 2014 ; Revised: Today, January 12, 2015

Winner; Golden Globes; Best Motion Picture (Drama) & Best Director

“Life doesn’t give you bumpers”

I’m going to start by saying that I’m writing this on my day-off, not because I care if people read it or because I think my opinion carries more weight than yours.  I write because Boyhood demands to be written about.

We’ve become accustomed to the charmingly scripted, perfectly executed drama, complete with major conflicts and symbolic motifs.  With drastic plot twists and out of this world CGI frequenting our eyes, movie watching has become an experience where we sit on the string of an 8 year old boy’s shiny new yoyo. Anything can happen, and we’re starting to accept that. But it’s ok, because in the end, the kid will get the hang of the motions, walk the dog and come full circle, even when it makes no sense (think, The Happening). It’s the modern day motion picture.

Enter: Boyhood.

The first thing you’ve undoubtedly heard about the film is that it is twelve (yes: 12) years in the making.  Filmed a few weeks out of each year, Richard Linklater (director and writer) and his cast poured their hearts into this project to produce something cinema has never seen before.

This fact brings PR, expectedly. The good, it’s a huge achievement. The bad, it gives naysayers an out: “The only reason it’s receiving attention is how long it’s been in the works.

But, here’s why Boyhood just made my list.

While I did feel there were times Boyhood‘s script did not live up to Linklater’s past works, the overall concept is stunningly original and it’s result is fascinating.

Time becomes the main character.  Linklater does not distract the audience with emotional parades and stunning visual media.  That means no car chases, explosions, or end-all-be-all conflicts – and the audience to hail all focus on the progression. As the film carries, the story feels less like a story and more like a condensed, real human life.

We watch Mason, and all other characters, literally grow up before us as it if was a collection of home videos. Boyhood transcends the tired, overly symbolic coming-of-age theme, and transforms it into something tangible.  Trust me, if you’re a 90’s kid (and even more if you’re a child of divorce), you will have to really fight a smile at the accuracy of its growing up references.

Daring to use the most humble of moments of an average life to conjure its unique and ultimate significance, Boyhood shatters what we’ve come to expect from a movie (especially Blockbusters).  Combine this concept with perfectly congruent marginal camera movements and unequivocally genuine dialogue, and we experience the most intimate look at an American family ever before presented on screen.

Hitting your mind, heart, and soul, Boyhood makes it nearly impossible not to ponder your own life and how far you’ve come.  Boyhood reminds us of the power of cinema and more importantly, the power of life itself.

3/4 stars.