For those of you that do not regularly visit RottenTomatoes.com and think that movie critics' opinions don't matter because they are just opinions, you might want to stop reading; this column is probably not for you.
For the true cinemaphiles out there, yesterday I was treated to one of the great experiences of my lifetime. That is a statement that I don't make lightly.
As of right now, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is rated at 99% fresh on RT, with 181/183 critics giving it a positive score. The names of the two "critics" who panned this film, and I use that term very loosely with these chowderheads, are Rebecca Cusey and Matt Pais. I don't know who the Hell either of them is, but they should both be forced to give up their critic's designation and find another profession. I hear that we are really short on basket weavers.
It's not just the 99% score that is truly remarkable; it's the reviews themselves. A movie could get a very high score by being pleasant, mildly entertaining, and still quite forgettable. But let me share with you some of the short comments by some top critics about Boyhood:
Linklater's Boyhood is a must-see film for any lover of the movies. It's the type of film that was imagined when they invented film.
Boyhood is the summation of Richard Linklater's entire career...A moving and masterful evocation of what it means to be a family, and all the hurt and hope that comes with it.
This is more than a groundbreaker: It's a new American classic.
The closest thing to a lived life that fictional cinema has yet produced
Linklater has crafted what may be the most ingenious film of the century here and given it a tone like no other
Richard Linklater's latest feels more like living a life than watching a movie. It's a one-of-a-kind experience.
Few filmmakers ever make a great movie. Fewer still ever make a movie that expands what movies can express. Richard Linklater does both with Boyhood.
There isn't anything else quite like "Boyhood" in the history of cinema, although that wouldn't matter one-fifth as much if it weren't a moving and memorable viewing experience in the end.
I have long maintained that Richard Linklater is the most gifted and audacious director of his generation. His new movie, Boyhood, which runs 2 hours and 44 minutes, is a stunning reconfirmation.
And finally, from probably the most well-known movie critic alive today, Richard Roeper:
One of the most remarkable moviegoing experiences I've ever had.
Now to be fair, not ALL of the positive reviews are as glowing as the ones I picked out above; there are some that are more middling; but I also didn't pick out ALL the fabulous reviews. Check them out for yourselves.
As for my personal review, I don't really think there is much I could add that hasn't been said above. The words "epic", "brilliant", "audacious", "groundbreaking", all listed in the above reviews, are a good start, but they are just words. You need to experience this for yourself.
Can you imagine everything that could have gone wrong here? How do you even contemplate to film a movie over 12 years, starting with a 7-year old boy, and his 10-year old sister (played beautifully by Linklater's daughter Loralei)? What if the boy grew up to be a disenfranchised idiot, who had no interest in finishing this project? Or if Loralei decided she just didn't want to be part of "dad's dumb little movie" anymore as she reached into her teens? Or what if one or both of them just couldn't ACT?
Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, as the parents, both give the performances of their careers. But the star of this show is the unknown Ellar Coltrane, who quite literally grows up on screen before our eyes. It will be interesting to see if he decides he wants to continue acting; I suspect he can pick his own scripts if he does.
Hopefully by now you have all stopped reading this and gone to whatever site you choose to check out the movie times and are planning to go see this film right now. It might be tough to find, but you won't regret it. I'm hoping/expecting that the release of this masterpiece gets wider and wider; I saw it on a Saturday afternoon at 2 PM in a mostly packed house, and the word is that it's per-screen average gross has been excellent, which bodes well for further screens. We'll see.
If it doesn't get a wider release into a theatre near you right now, it will.....they will put it back into theatres the day after the Oscar Nominations are announced. This is as close to a lock for a nomination for Best Picture and Best Director as I have ever seen in a Summer film, not to mention 4-5 others I suspect.
It runs 2 hours and 44 minutes, but I felt like it was over in 10. I never wanted it to end, and I cannot wait to see it again. I may even see it again in a theatre.
Friends, see this movie.