This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jarrel Montes’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Bro like talk about commitment man, how in the world did they even pull this off with zero inconsistency!? That alone makes this movie not only one of a kind but commended for the effort, the hope, and the willingness to continue. Just like the inner message or answer that Mason Jr. has been looking for the entire time, ugh this little boy literally grew up right before our very eyes, and just like the parent we see him as someone you love regardless of what he does. There is no way this is a movie, it can't be - it's too real, even when you think a part looks low key scripted it always grounds itself with this dialogue that refrains from being too expressive. The chemistry is also powerful, how in the world did they handle the passing of time in such a way that never needed any explanation — the paths were revealed through subtle hints that we all accept with no question.
I thought this was going to be too long, and yet at the end it left me wanting more — but I know I shouldn't. The movie is about boyhood, at that certain point down to the last shot Mason was a boy, and it wasn't until he grew up, felt heartbreak, left the nest, and has now found a mate when he is a man — I'm low key hoping they make a movie called manhood when were see another 12 years from Mason Jr.
It really does depend on how you were raised, or what you retain from your childhood that ends up shaping you. Having alcoholic step fathers might make you not really interested in beer or alcohol, but weed is fine because mom is sorta okay with it. Mason Sr. is a great character but we clearly see some dark past with him that we don't know about, but if he was to get back together with Olivia, would the drinking be a problem then, since they had a toxic relationship?
Overall absolutely loved this film, this is for anyone that wants to watch an amazing ensemble of realness, and of course to commend the efforts of every person who has worked on this movie for 12 f*cking years. Haters will say it's fake.
Tl;dr - They shot this movie for 12 years bro, it would be insulting not to watch this.