This extraordinary coming-of-age tale follows a boy (Ellar Coltrane) from the age of six to his first day at college.

Writer-director Richard Linklater’s remarkable film gains extraordinary richness and depth from the way in which it was made.

Using the same actors and shooting for a few days annually over a period of 12 years, Linklater shows Coltrane growing up before our eyes, while his mother (Patricia Arquette), father (Ethan Hawke) and older sister (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) take their own emotional journeys.

Coltrane goes through major rites of passage, but it is the small details, the rhythms and texture of ordinary life, that prove the most compelling – including queuing in robes for the latest Harry Potter novel and Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign.

Coltrane is captivating and gets superb support from Arquette and Hawke.

A masterpiece.

The film starts at 12.05am.