Boyhood: It’s a wonderful life

Directed by Richard Linklater

The magnum opus of one of the most creative directors of the past two decades is also perhaps the ultimate coming-of-age story.

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Boyhood is the culmination of 12 years of filming, bringing together tropes and ideas from Richard Linklater’s back catalogue (the snapshots of life from the Before trilogy, Dazed and Confused’s feel for the dialogue and rhythms of teenage life), resulting in a clever and compelling watch from start to finish.

Almost Dickensian in style and scope, Boyhood is the story of the education of Mason Evans Jr, (Ellar Coltrane, who eventually comes to resemble Peter Dinklage’s giant brother) from age 6 to 18.

When we first meet him, he lives in small town Texas with his sister Samantha (Linklater’s daughter Lorelei) and mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette).

Dad, Mason Snr (Ethan Hawke) is only a peripheral figure in their lives, last seen headed for fame and fortune in Alaska.