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Critic's Pick

'This Boy's Life'

November 13, 1994|Kenneth Turan

This 1993 film is every boy's life, every child's nightmare. Told with unblinking truthfulness and remarkable sensitivity by writer Robert Getchell, its true story of one particular and painful coming of age manages to touch us all. The ensemble work of Ellen Barkin, Leonardo DiCaprio (pictured) and Robert De Niro is expressive without overdoing it and almost hypnotic in its honesty. Although the 18-year-old DiCaprio got lots of justifiable attetion for his finely nuanced work as a teen-ager trapped in an inner and outer storm, it is De Niro's shattering performance as stepfather Dwight Hansen, the warped disciplinarian, that is the film's core (HBO Monday at 4:05 a.m.).

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