Hugely overrated. In no way is this film a masterpiece or a miracle. Weak trivial ‘plot’. Uninteresting episodes. Not much here of note. Boy himself lacks interest, depth, and consequence. Familiar domestic situations do not rise above clichés. (All three husbands have substance abuse problems; two have power-control issues. One of the fathers is nastily abusive to his family.) Movie lacks focus–drifts to boy’s first father and mother, who, in some ways, are more interesting than Mason, who, at best, can only mutter some clichés.
The only interesting, truthful scenes are with Mason’s girlfriend in the truck and when they break up. Those scenes have an honest feel and something to say about the communication problems between the sexes and the values of late adolescents. Music wanders likewise. There are far many more interesting, truth-full movies about male coming-of-age. A pretentious movie which drifts meaninglessly like the protagonist. A truly weak candidate for Best Movie.
Linklater deserves no awards for his insipid, casual, free-fall-random, undistinctive, uninspired ‘directing’ and mediocre-plotted and empty, cliched-character screenplay. These nomination frauds are on the level of Malick’s worst movie Tree of Life.
I don’t have a major problem with Hawke’s and Arquette’s nods for Supporting roles. They, at least, do give performances (unlike the boy) and have some redeeming features as changing parents. Editing is unremarkable since there’s nothing major, significant, or valuable to link and set off.
The concept of shooting the same characters over 12 years is just a simplistic gimmick that does not yield interesting insights or great success in 165 boring minutes. I hope I never see another Linklater film or Ellar Coltrane onscreen again.