Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The dynamic teaming of Robert DeNiro, Ellen Barkin and Leonardo DiCaprio sparks this funny, touching slice-of-life drama that pits rebellious teen Toby (DiCaprio) against his tyrannical new stepfather Dwight (DeNiro). (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    Barkin and DiCaprio are sensational. Every time De Niro threatens to take over the picture, they snatch our attention right back, and always with something casual: a look or a gesture that conveys how thoroughly this mother and son understand each other.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    In capturing the compelling battle between a boy and his abusive stepfather, director Michael Caton-Jones cannily avoids obvious sentimentality, opting to let a rather brutal story tell itself.
  3. 75
    The film is well-paced and expertly edited, allowing scenes to flow naturally into one another.
  4. The leads work overtime to make their characters and their relationships pungent, believable, and moving (though with regard to the rest of the cast, the movie seems less focused and confident).
  5. It never attains full dimension. It pursues the De Niro-DiCaprio war so singlemindedly, everything else is left high and dry.
  6. For This Boy's Life to work as ominous domestic drama, it's essential that we see Dwight as a flesh-and-blood monster. De Niro, unfortunately, just seems to be reveling in the chance to play another viciously demented freak, like Cape Fear's Max Cady.
  7. The process of remembering that drives the book is gone from the film, boiled away until all that's left is the mundane residue of memory - mere incidents strung together as plot.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 13, 2013
    It's great that i'm the first user to review this masterpiece. The acting is amazing, the story is great and realistic. It's a must watch for all DeNiro or DiCaprio fans and drama lovers. I still have the original VHS in my collection. My final score for "This Boy's Life" is 8/10 Expand