Going into this film, it had gimmick written all over it; like films shot in one take, I thought this would be destined for mediocrity once the initial shock of “they filmed this over twelve years” wore off. Thankfully, what I got was a poignant and truthful story about adolescence. In some ways, this is the only way you could truly capture those moments in a narrative setting because there is no need to suspend disbelief. The arcs of the boy Mason’s parents are the obvious standouts here – especially Ethan Hawke, who acts circles around Patricia Arquette – but, just like in life, as Mason grows, he becomes an interesting and complicated figure. Director Richard Linklater has made some real duds in his careers (I’m looking at you Bad News Bears) but this ranks as one of his greatest accomplishments.
Bottom Line Director Richard Linklater has made some real duds in his careers (I'm looking at you Bad News Bears) but this ranks as one of his greatest accomplishments.