with: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, etc.
plot: Twelve years in the less than nuclear life of a nuclear Texas family - father Mason, mother Olivia, oldest offspring Samantha, and youngest offspring Mason Jr. - is presented, focusing on the younger Mason's entire public school years. This phase of their story begins in 2002 when Olivia and Mason, who originally married because she was pregnant, are now divorced, the marriage which was destined to dissolve due to these circumstances. Olivia has custody of the two children, and when he is around, Mason has weekend visitation rights, which has not happened in the last year or so as he stated he, an aspiring musician and somewhat irresponsible young adult, was "away somewhere in Alaska" trying to find himself. Olivia wants to eke out a better life for herself and the kids in a way that will also satisfy her own emotional needs. MJ's growing up is affected by these circumstances and whatever the situation at the time outwardly orchestrated by Olivia (but often manipulated by others), and by his relationship with his family members - who evolve as they each grow up chronologically and emotionally - and others in his ever changing life.
what I liked: Wonderful and credible actors all way through and they are allowed to age naturally and not through heavy make up! Nothing is rushed and it is still never boring. And the soundtrack brought back memories as well.
what I didn´t like: Overall I was very satisfied but the end could have been a tad more condensed. Ending it at his Dad´s gig with the music playing and not in the mountains.
verdict: A perfect film for me. Nothing unreal and larger-than-life happens, it is all "normal" (well, apart from getting a rifle for your birthday but it is the US after all), unaffected and through that deeply moving. Great experiment that worked out in the end. Looking forward to watching it again.
The sadest moment for me? When Mason Jr. realises that his Dad has exchanged his cool oldtimer for a family van...my old fear of becoming bourgeois...