This Boy's Life
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This Boy's Life (DVD)
Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro ("GoodFellas," "City by the Sea"), Emmy-winner Ellen Barkin ("Sea of Love," "The Big Easy") and Academy Award-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Departed," "Blood Diamond") star in the film adaptation of author Tobias Wolff's award-winning autobiographical novel. Set in the 1950s, this moving drama tells the story of a young boy and his divorced mother who travel cross country in hopes of a better life. When his mother marries, the boy must struggle to endure a hostile and complex relationship with his tyrannical new stepfather while coming to terms with his own hopes and dreams. Newsweek called this film "stunning, smart, moving and made with passion. This is well crafted Hollywood filmmaking in full bloom.]]>
Robert De Niro gets top billing, but young Leonardo DiCaprio is the revelation of This Boy's Life, an astute, often painful drama of growing up in the 1950s Pacific Northwest, based on the autobiographical novel by Tobias Woolf. DiCaprio plays Tobias, a good kid with a bad boy streak but an unwavering love for his divorced mother (Ellen Barkin). "I want to be a better boy," he promises from under a greasy pompadour, and tries to prove it when she marries single father Dwight (DeNiro), a bully who parents through intimidation and humiliation. DiCaprio is magnetic in his first starring role, full of anger, hope, and confusion as he drifts back to juvenile delinquency, and his intensity gives the true story of survival and triumph its charge. DeNiro is frightening and pathetic as Dwight, and Dwight's youngest daughter is played by future star and vampire slayer Eliza Dushku. --Sean Axmaker
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Released in April 1993, a month after "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," This Boy's Life portrays a very young Leonardo DiCaprio as the young Tobias Wolff living with a sadistic stepfather (played by Robert DiNiro) in the backwash of Washington in the late 1950s. The scene with the mustard jar is chilling and every time I empty a jar of anything, I have flashbacks to this movie.
That being said, it is also fascinating to watch this because Deniro plays one hell of a miserable warped bastard with a bad temper. It seems his goal in life is to make everyone as miserable as he is.
His character enjoys being a macho man, even if deep down inside, he is a hardly a man at all.
While he enjoys making others miserable, his main focus is DiCaprio's character.
This is based on a memoir and after viewing the movie I could not believe the author lived through this kind of life.
The movie is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.
The fact that it is a period piece( the movie starts in the 50's) is also a pleasure to watch, along with the songs of the era being played in the film's soundtrack.
After the movie I had to go online and read up on the author of this memoir.
You may find yourself just as interested to see what becomes of a boy that loves his mother so dearly, that he always agrees to go along with her wishes just to make her happy.
Wishes that he often knows are going to end up being nothing but heartache- for both of them.
The mother is played by Ellen Barkin, who fits very well into the role of a lovely and attractive single Mom of the 50's.
One who has resigned herself to another bad decision she has made.
She can do far better than Deniro- but she feels stuck and since the truth is that she *is* stuck, so is Dicaprio.
This is the first movie I have seen of DiCaprio as a youngster, before he hit the 'Titanic' wave of fame.
Deniro has played bad guys over the course of his movie career but nothing quite like this.
I would consider it a character study between DiCaprio and Deniro because their characters are complete opposites and yet they are a constant presence to one another, which makes what Dicaprio has to endure unavoidable.
This is a true human interest story - a film that shows Dicaprio had great acting ability in him, even at a young age. It has Deniro & Barkin together and a superb glance back into the 1950's era.
These are just a few good reasons to consider viewing this movie.