This Boy's Life
This Boy's Life (1993)

This Boy's Life is a true-life coming-of-age story about '50s teenager Tobias Wolff (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his mother, Caroline (Ellen Barkin). After travelling around the country in an effort to avoid Caroline's abusive… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 1, 1993
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2003
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Critic Score: 75% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A harrowing, moving drama about a young boy, his single mother, and his abusive stepfather, This Boy's Life benefits from its terrific cast, and features a breakout performance from a young Leonardo DiCaprio.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine

Something more subtle is going on in Wolff's book, a confrontation with a richer, quirkier past and his emerging self that the movie too often brushes aside.

Full review…
Wally Hammond
Time Out

It's a rites-of-passage drama with the kind of period small-town setting that the director is making his own.

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Nick Rogers

The film demands ominous electricity between Dwight and Toby, the latter of whom endures various and sundry humiliation and harm at the former's hands. And there are times when DiCaprio doesn't just go toe-to-toe with De Niro but feels just as tall.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

The leads work overtime to make their characters and their relationships pungent, believable, and moving.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

This Boy's Life is so steeped in period detail (music, cars, television shows, hair styles) that Toby and Caroline's sad, bumbling search for freedom seems secondary, almost impolite to the decor.

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TV Guide

This is powerful and moving stuff.

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Todd McCarthy

Nicely acted but excessively bland.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

An indisputably great actor is inching toward the black hole of self-parody.


De Niro and Birkin are reliable in this atmospheric drama, but it's DiCaprio who really shines.

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More reviews for This Boy's Life

Flixster Audience Score: 79% Flixster User Reviews
Mark Walker
Before the heights of stardom, a young Leonardo DiCaprio built his name with this coming-of-age tale based on the real life memoirs of writer Tobias Wolff. On… More
Conner Rainwater
An amazing film that captures a story of step-father and son like no other. Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio gave such powerful performances and had some of… More
Sajin P A
Two acting powerhouses from two generations, a young DiCaprio and De-Niro, locks horns in this gripping movie about a dysfunctional family. No one watching… More
Leigh Ryan
Tough movie.
Thomas Johnston
Tragic childhoods do not always make great or even good movies! I see movies like this and think the movie could just as well be based on my childhood!
Tim Sigur
I really enjoyed DeNiro and DiCaprio's performances, but felt that the movie could have gone deeper.

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