The filmed image is really a time capsule, the only way we have of preserving and re-experiencing the past outside of our own memories.
Movies have engaged with this fundamental concept since the early years but never with the scope of "Boyhood," a 12 years-in-the-making masterpiece from Richard Linklater that carves out entirely new possibilities for narrative cinema.
The film tells the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a kid growing up in Texas, from first to 12th grade. It was shot in increments between 2002 and 2013, with Coltrane surrounded by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents and Linklater's daughter Lorelei as his sister.
The structure is deceptively simple: Linklater watches as Mason transforms from a boy to a man. Yet the 160-minute picture is distilled in such a way that it offers a compendium of the sort of experiences that come to define one's youth and shape the adult that is to come: camping trips, sibling arguments, bowling with dad, the first day at a new school, a first kiss and so much more.
There's not a wasted minute. The film directly engages with the viewer's own experiences, as the magnitude of each moment is amplified because we recognize in it an equivalent occurrence in our own lives. These are Mason's home movies but they are also our own.
The minute, ordinary events that Linklater puts onscreen are endowed with profound meaning because they're contextualized in the larger scope of this production, which streamlines the most epic experience of all.