Movie Review – This Boy’s Life (1993)

Leonardo is the ‘boy’ in this movie and he definitely had talent for his tender years. The movie is based on a true story about the life of Toby Wolff. He lived with his mother who had a series of bad relationships and kept running from one place to the other to start afresh and avoid her troublesome past. The boy quite enjoys the whole adventure with his bold and lively mother.

Life as they knew it takes a twist when Robert de Niro’s character Dwight enters their lives. He is good, has manners, respects ladies & charms them, quite unlike Toby’s mothers’ earlier boyfriends. She is hell-bent on this relationship to work as she is tired of running around.

Toby is a troublemaker at school and has been suspended and called for detention a lot of times. Dwight works out a plan with his mother for Toby to attend school at Concrete (a small county where he stays) so that he can get to know him better and to make him more disciplined.

Despite Toby’s reluctance he is sent away with Dwight and that’s when the trouble begins. He soon discovers that the free life that he lived with his mother is going to end and he will be bound without chains. Dwight has 3 kids of his own, who themselves cannot wait to start college to get out of the house.

Dwight is basically a kid trapped in a man’s body. He did not have a good childhood so he wants everyone else to be miserable and can’t bear if anybody else is doing better, achieves more or is happier than him.

After getting married even Toby’s mother realizes that all is not what she thought it would be but is determined to make the marriage work and tells Toby the same. The movie shows her finally reaching het wit’s end and how things shape up after that.

Toby himself longs for freedom and cannot wait to get out of the small pigeonhole for a place. The movie shows his anger, his struggle, his dreams & aspirations, all of which have been brilliantly and naturally portrayed by Leonardo.

Robert de’Niro as the egoistic man is superb. His antics, his irritation, all the small nuances have been played to the T.

There are some truly funny and sweet moments that make your heart go out to Leo and are sure to make u giggle like Toby acting out as Dwight, all the teens dressing up as Elvis etc.

Given here is the picture of real Tobias Wolff:

The movie definitely leaves you feeling good but with a tinge of sadness at what the boy had to endure.


  • IMDB Rating – 7.2/10
  • Tobey Maguire first auditioned for the part of Toby but director Michael Caton-Jonesthought he wasn’t right for the role. Leonardo DiCaprio, who is close friends with Tobey Maguire, still wanted him to be apart of the film so he got him the role of Toby’s friend Chuck Bolger.
  • Tobey Maguire‘s movie debut.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio grew a few inches while shooting the film and he had to slouch in several scenes to look smaller next to Robert De Niro.
  • Despite the movie’s title, the real magazine “Boy’s Life” is referred to and shown throughout as “Boy’s Magazine”.
  • Toby’s brother, called “Gregory” in the movie, is actually named Geoffrey.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio was 19 years old while filming this movie.

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