Not just a coming-of-age movie, but the definitive coming-of-age movie, Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood" follows the travails of a young Texas boy and his family. Filmed sequentially in pieces every year from 2002–2013, the film observes its young actors Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater mature through the years, from wide-eyed children to awkward adolescents.

"Boyhood" begins as Mason (Coltrane) and his older sister Samantha (Linklater) are in primary school, living with their single-mom Olivia (Patricia Arquette). Their father, Mason, Sr. (Ethan Hawke), has returned from 18 months in Alaska with the hope of reconnecting with his kids. After establishing the main characters and their fraught dynamics – Dad’s a loser; Mom wants to make it on her own; Mason struggles in school; Sam is spunky and smart – "Boyhood" fluidly progresses through the years, charting the family’s shifts over time.

Linklater avoids any obvious signposts to show their evolution. Rather, he smoothly cuts across the decade, using changes in hairstyle, popular songs and technological developments to mark the march of time. Olivia marries and divorces, the family moves around Texas, Mason discovers the opposite sex, but "Boyhood" is less interested in dramatic milestones than the long developmental haul. Like Linklater’s "Before" series, "Boyhood" creates a fascinating temporal universe, which transcends the movie viewer’s normal relationship to a film. "Boyhood" feels real and expansive, because it is.

USA 2014