Our titular boy, Mason, lies looking up at the sky. He is six years old. The film shows us his progress through childhood and onto his college years. We see his sister Sam grow up with him but this film is ultimately about family. The two children come from a broken family, supported by their struggling mother and swept away occasionally by their young, care-free, musician father for the weekend. As the film goes on, we see these relationships develop, adapt, or crack.
Three little kiddie-winks
Of course, where this story differs from other family dramas and coming of age stories is that Boyhood is shot over twelve years meaning the same boy grows into a young adult before our eyes in just under three hours. Not only is this a cinematic achievement of epic proportions, it also gives the film something a uniquely special, almost documentary, feel. This film, had it have been shot over a few months with well cast look-a-likes of different ages, would have tipped towards mediocrity. It instead a strives towards excellence. A study of the human life, old and young, with the visible reality of ageing, weight loss or gain, and other aspects of human change really makes the story come to life like no other could.
Today we learn Ethan Hawke aged the most in 12 years
Is Boyhood the best film of the year? No. But it is perhaps the most ambitious, most exciting, and most triumphant cinematic achievements of all time.