Ellen Barkin, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio star in
this film adaptation of Tobias Wolff's much-acclaimed memoir, about growing up with an
abusive step-father and a flighty, but loving mother.
SEX/NUDITY 4 - No actual nudity. There are two sex scenes, though: one
involves dirty talk, and groping and kissing while a bed is shaking. The other is rather
more explicit, as one character talks about unorthodox sexual positions. There's lots and
lots of sex talk, and some hint of homosexual attraction between adolescents (a tentative
kiss on the cheek from one boy to another).
VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - One fight between two boys involves punching and rolling
around in the mud. The result is a few welts on one of the boy's face. More serious is the
violence between a boy and his stepfather: when the stepfather tries to show his stepson
how to box, a fight erupts. In another scene, the two go at it with fists, dishes, a mop,
a bat, and all manner of home-furnishings. In yet other disturbing scenes, the stepfather
pinches, punches, bites, kicks or tries to strangle the boy. He even grinds a near-empty
mustard jar into his stepson's eye. Gore consists of a bloody finger.
PROFANITY 7 - A lot of profanity, especially among teenagers. There are
approximately 20 F-words, as well as several references to the male and female anatomy. [profanity glossary]
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Premarital sex, homosexuality, child abuse, family violence
and neglect, forgery, lying, smoking at a very young age, vandalism and truancy.
MESSAGE - You can change your life, and it may be as easy as just walking
away from a troubled situation. You don't have to settle for less than any human deserves.