12 years. This film is was shot over 12 years. Just the thought of that is phenomenal, isn’t it?

Mason is a 6 year old boy when the film begins in 2002 and we follow him, his sister Samantha, his mother Olivia and his father, Mason Sr. until he graduates from high school in 2013 and heads to college. 12 years…

Story: So the content of this story is not earth-shattering – Like most independent films, it speaks to everyday life. The special nature of this film is the documented evolution of life. We get to watch Mason grow up and it’s actually Mason. There are no credits for different actors playing Mason at 6 then Mason at 10 – It’s all Ellar Coltrane as Mason from 6 to 18.

To have the discipline to continue telling one person’s story for 12 years is a Hollywood departure. The commitment of everyone involved is remarkable. 12 minutes in Hollywood is a commitment – how did Linklater get anyone there to buy this idea? Most Hollywood marriages don’t last 12 years…

This story is less about the individual parts and clearly about the project as a whole. Sure, there’s domestic violence and divorce; Alcoholism, step brothers & sisters and peer pressure… But, when you stop and think on the totality of Boyhood, it’s an amazing undertaking.

Performances: Patricia Arquette is Mason’s mother and Ethan Hawke is his father. Their individual performances are good and their commitment to the project is without words, but, again, they don’t compare to the story as a whole.

Ellar Coltrane as Mason and Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha get the same credit for commitment – maybe more for allowing a camera to capture every year of their adolescence for 12 years. Awkward moments – I’m sure some of those moments on the screen may have been more real than we know. Again, more of the brilliance of the film as a whole.

Clearly, there will be talk of Oscar for this film. And, I’m going to predict there will be talk of nominations for Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke just for their dedication to the project. But, my bet is that there will be other individual performances leading up to the end of the year that should be given more consideration. Just as individual performances, I say no, but, if the movie as a whole doesn’t WIN best picture, I’ll be outraged. I don’t know what can come along and top a project with this kind of value.

Visual: I don’t normally talk about Directors because I’m a writer and without good writing, what are you directing? BUT, this is clearly and exception. Richard Linklater is substance personified. To have conceived of this project… embarked upon it, stuck with it for 12 years, finished it and gotten it to screen IS a career! Give him his Oscar now. Oscarsss, plural. Best picture and Best Director. Now.

No need for special effects or special back drops or special props… the story is the visual. Watching this kid physically change from a 6-year-old boy to an 18-year-old man in 2 hours and 44 minutes is visually superior.

Rating: A+. Everybody gets an A+. I watched this film twice; The first time was passive. The second time was analytical. I tried to catch every transition from age to age and it was fascinating. Difficult because Linklater doesn’t use screen fonts to show ages or years or say how old Mason is as the film progresses, but, when you accept this story as a whole, you don’t care exactly how old he is in each scene. It’s the journey… you’re on the journey with him.

This is the kind of film you don’t want to see end. I found myself getting invested in what Mason was doing and feeling his joy and pain. That’s another incredible truth of this film – it gets you involved and keeps you involved.

See this film no matter how you find access. This is a one-of-a-kind production experience that many may try to replicate. I’ll be curious to see the next attempt at this revolutionary artform…