You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

This Boy’s Life – A True Story

This Boy's Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man's escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather.

With:
Robert De Niro Ellen Barkin Leonardo DiCaprio Jonah Blechman Eliza Dushku Chris Cooper

This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather.

Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly style by young Toby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Hitting the road in 1957 with his working class mother Caroline (Ellen Barkin), Toby begins hanging out with a bad crowd once they settle in Seattle.

Then mom meets Dwight (Robert De Niro), a man’s man with a crewcut. Even before Dwight and Caroline marry, Toby is sent to live with Dwight in Concrete, Wash, where Dwight devotes himself to cutting the sullen ‘hotshot’ down to size.

Unfortunately, after a relatively promising warmup, pic actually proceeds to flatten out the characters in the latter sections. Film’s strength lies in its portrait of the father-stepson struggle, how each pushes the other toward even worse behavior.

De Niro brings both a rough charm and ferocious power to Dwight. Centerscreen almost throughout, DiCaprio is excellent as Toby. Barkin weighs in with plenty of spirit until her character dries up.

This Boy's Life - A True Story

Production: Warner. Director Michael Caton-Jones; Producer Art Linson; Screenplay Robert Getchell; Camera David Watkin; Editor Jim Clark; Music Carter Burwell; Art Director Stephen J. Lineweaver

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: Robert De Niro Ellen Barkin Leonardo DiCaprio Jonah Blechman Eliza Dushku Chris Cooper

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper Robert De Niro

    Bradley Cooper on His Secret Pact With Lady Gaga for 'A Star is Born'

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • The seagull

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Seagull'

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • Verne TroyerStarkey Hearing Foundation Awards Gala,

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers,' Dies at 49

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • 'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts

    'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts as 'Last Jedi' Slips to No. 2

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • Stockholm review

    Tribeca Film Review: Ethan Hawke in 'Stockholm'

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

  • Hans Zimmer90th Annual Academy Awards, Roaming

    Hans Zimmer to Receive Steiner Award at Hollywood in Vienna Gala

    This Boy’s Life is a nicely acted but excessively bland coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s escape from domestic turmoil and abuse, with numerous potent scenes of conflict between the central teenager and his violent stepfather. Tale is based on Tobias Wolff’s acclaimed 1989 book of the same name and is duly narrated in writerly […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content