Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) is five years old and heading off to school. His life is just like any five year old’s – his mum Olivia (by Patricia Arquette) looks after him, he fights with his annoying older sister Samantha (by Lorelei Linklater) and he sees his dad Mason Senior (by Ethan Hawke) whenever he’s able to put some time aside for them. He rides his bike, plays with his friend, gets curious about his world, observes his family … and learns. We watch as Mason grows up and his world evolves. Through the changes in the world, his family evolution, his own maturity and his relationships he develops into a young man ready to face the world as an adult.
I saw this movie with reluctance, as I had no interest in watching a “fly on the wall” expose of a young boy going through growing up angst; but I’m so glad I did. An attempt to describe it makes it sound mundane, but it’s weirdly compelling. The sheer fact that it was made with the exact same cast over its entire 12 year production is remarkable. The story itself is interesting and Mason presents a unique lens for many to observe the life of a growing young boy. It’s authentic and fascinating. Better than a soap opera, but not a documentary – very well done. The performances are all good – of course Ellar Coltrane is an amazing talent to be able to reproduce this boy during intervals of his own life, from such a young age too. I loved Ethan Hawke’s performance as Mason Senior and Patricia Arquette is consistently good. Great soundtrack of the relevant periods too. It has been awarded the Golden Globe award in 2015 and deserves all the accolades it gets.
Made in 2014. Directed by Richard Linklater