One might expect the nature of the production to yield a disjointed affair given the significant maturing of all involved, let alone the evolving technology and language of the medium. In shooting on 35mm stock, Linklater finds a beautiful and timeless visual consistency that captures the glowing Texan sun as well as the melancholy of departing youth. Equally as staggering is the fact that the narrative and characters are not only coherent but nuanced and frequently moving. The familial ties are sketched with care and Linklater's habitual insight as well as being leavened by a frequent laugh-out-loud humour. There have been some that have criticised the opening act's reliance on ancillary characters - such as the first of two drunk step-fathers that Mason must endure - but these serve as more than merely formative experiences. As Mason - and Coltrane - mature into their skin, so they mature into the movie that they are inhabiting.
The opening shot of a boy observing the world around him slowly develops into the commanding central presence with agency and charisma. Boyhood grows only with its protagonist - even the soundtrack blossoms as Mason does. The truly remarkable thing is that when the excellent Arquette bursts into tears at her son's inaugural steps into manhood, the audience completely empathises. There are pangs of sadness at Mason's childhood ending, especially when we've been privy to the growing pains and broken hearts it customarily involves. Fortunately, Boyhood concludes on a note of such unbridled optimism, Linklater is defying you to leave the auditorium without a grin on your face. Indeed, few will after experiencing this astonishing cinematic treasure.