Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Dean Essner - Entertainment Weekly
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.
Vincent Canby - New York Times
It is an affecting teen melodrama haunted by twisted treehouse memories.
Rita Kempley - Washington Post
Apparently left by director Michael Caton-Jones to his own devices, De Niro's familiar, tight-lipped intensity is entertaining and watchable. But in this Boy's Life Magazine context, it hovers close to cartoonlike.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
The movie is very involving.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The leads work overtime to make their characters and their relationships pungent, believable, and moving.
Jonathan Rosenbaum - Chicago Reader
Nicely acted but excessively bland.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Ultimately, This Boy's Life is effective because we get to know the characters, understand their circumstances, and empathize with their dreams.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
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.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
An indisputably great actor is inching toward the black hole of self-parody.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
A young DiCaprio steals the show in this tale of learning how to be a man, with a sly De Niro also giving a good performance, but with a plot that drags on too long.
Angie Errigo - Empire Magazine
De Niro and Birkin are reliable in this atmospheric drama, but it's DiCaprio who really shines.
Dean Essner - Film4
This is powerful and moving stuff.
Dean Essner - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Brian Tallerico - UGO
A powerful if familiar family melodrama with a bravura performance from newcomer Leonardo DiCaprio, who's bound to become a major actor in the future.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
It's a rites-of-passage drama with the kind of period small-town setting that the director is making his own.
Wally Hammond - Time Out
Well acted, but bleak and slow-moving.
James Plath - DVDTown.com
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
De Niro does great work here. Highly underrated flick.
Scott Weinberg - eFilmCritic.com
Outstanding performances from DeNiro and Di Caprio in a tough, lyrical drama
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
a compelling character study that is well worth watching just for Dicaprio's performance
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
This Boy's Life shows how a resilient teenager survives childhood trauma and adversity through independence, anger and creativity..
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
DiCaprio goes toe-to-toe with De Niro, though his spectacular efforts here continue to be overshadowed by his Oscar-baiting in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
Bill Chambers - Film Freak Central
Leonardo DiCaprio, in his first major role, stole this movie right out from under Robert DeNiro's feet. A great coming-of-age tale based on a very good book.
Blake Davis - KFOR Channel 4 News
A powerful, moving picture....Di Caprio and De Niro are a solid combination
Clint Morris - Moviehole
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Involving, but not finally effective
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Caton-Jones has an extraordinary find in Leonardo DiCaprio, the 17-year-old newcomer who plays Toby with just the right mixture of ingenuous sweetness and simmering anger.
Stephen Farber - Movieline
By the movie's final blow-out, the tension has become almost unbearable though it's less from curiosity about what will happen to the characters than a feeling that you just can't abide watching such abuse a minute longer.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
This Boy's Life is a pencil sketch that pretends to be a full-blown oil painting.
Chris Hicks - Deseret News, Salt Lake City