Based on a novel of the same name, which is based on a true story, the movie begins with Toby(Lianardo DiCaprio) explaining his relationship with his mother, and her nature to just literally move on whenever she had a problem. It follows the life of Toby and his mother as she decides to marry a seemingly charming and chivalrous Dwight Hansen(Robert DiNiro), but events that ensue reveal Dwight’s true nature not only as a rigid and disciplinarian ‘Concrete’ man but also a dominating and repressive family man.
Characters are played skillfully by the amazing roster of leads, especially young Lionardo DiCaprio as the high school kid who obviously wants to keep his mother happy and remain congenial, but cannot help getting into trouble and mingling with his teenage buddies and engaging in their recreational nasty habits. He is unable to acclimate to his new surroundings under the yoke of his dominating father and is encumbered by the disciplinarian life that he is not accustomed to. DiCaprio portrays all these emotions with ease. Ellen Barkin is amazing as the coddling mother and the suppressed wife, who thinks she cannot afford to go through another breakup and is tenacious to make the precarious relationship work, despite having to witness her son being abused. But the best performance irrefutably comes from Robert DeNiro as the obstinate, abusive husband and father who cannot stand the fact that his family can perform better than him. He slips into this role and makes it his own.
Although the the story isn’t very attractive and does get tedious to watch at times, the tension in the family is tangible and keeps you going. If you haven’t read the book, its highly likely you will come out disappointed but you can’t blame the film since it couldn’t deviate from the actual story when its a book adaptation. Having said that, I must confess I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I expected to ( I didn’t read the novel) and although I am not a fan of drama, I am certain there are much better movies in this genre.
I will rate this one at 5 on 10. Its a one time watch and its fun while it lasts.