This Boys Life

The film we watched was called This Boys Life directed by Michael Caton- Jones and produced by the following men; Jon Peters, Art Linson and Fitch Cady. The movie takes place around 1957 where a son and mother flee the East and an abusive boyfriend to find a new life, and end up on Seattle, where the mother meets a polite garage mechanic. The boy continually gets into trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd.
The mo marries the mechanic, but they soon find out that he’s an abusive and unreasoning alcoholic, and they struggle to maintain hope in an mpossible situation as the boy grows up with plans to escape the small town by any means possible. This movie was based Offa true story by Tobias Wolff that was written by Ed Sutton. The main characters in the movie are Jack, Caroline, and Dwight. Jack who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio is the main protagonist in the story. First his name was Tibias Wolff but then he changes it to Jack. He has a troubled childhood, which is plagued by domestic abuse and misbehaviour.
Despite his grim upbringing, he remains hopeful and is convinced that he is capable of a better life. Caroline whose nickname is Rosemary is played by Ellen Barkin. Carline is Jacks mother who struggles financially to support herself and her son, through she is neglectful at time you can tell that she has a special love for Jack. Rosemary was abused as a child and cannot bring herself to inflict violence or any sort of punishment on Jack, even though she has the habit of taking up with violent men who inflict the same abuse on both of them.

Dwight is played by Robert De Niro is Jacks stepfather and is the main antagonist of the story. He is a cruel and violent man ho convinces Rosemary to marry him and move to Chinnok to live with him. Dwight is especially resentful of Jack and treats him with the utmost brutality. Dwight drinks to excess, steals Jacks and Rosemary’s money, and often instigates physical altercations with Jack. One interesting part that I always wished I could do is being able to Just pack up and move. Not have any worries about the future and be like Caroline and have high hopes for the future, life would be great.
There are three stages of Erik Erikson’s eight stages of life that are recognizable in the film. There are; dentity versus confusion, intimacy versus isolation and generativity versus stagnation. Erik describes the first stage (identity versus confusion) as a dilemma during adolescence and early adulthood. Every individual is challenged to define who he or she is and who they will be in the future (Holloway et al 99). You can clearly see Jacks struggle during this stage in the film. He is constantly getting into trouble because of the group of friends he is hanging around.
For example when they are in the bathroom smoking and they make fun of him he writes inappropriate words on the stale. Him and his so called friends also release the break from a car and let it roll down the hill until it crashes. An example of this stage is when Jack is trying to figure out where he belongs and where he wants to go after high school. Jack hangs out with the wrong crowd but then starts to hang around another boy who seems to His grades are not good at all, has C’s in every course, the battle to get into a post secondary school is hard.
He was to look up to his dad and brother who went to a “top notch” high school. He has everyone saying that he won’t get accepted anywhere because of his attitude and grades. Through it all he gets accepted and Dwight is immediately Jealous. Intimacy versus isolation is based on the ability to trust a person enough to reveal your personal thoughts and feelings to him or her, it is necessary to have a clear sense of who you are (Holloway et al 100). I think there are two examples in the film of this stage. First being Caroline and Dwight.
Caroline has always been with another man and is used to having someone there but she was never really able to trust them or let her true self out because both men were abusive to her. When Dwight and her got married and had sexual intimacy later he efused to want to look at her face and actually held her head down on the bed so that she could not look up. She had no other choice but to accept how she was living because she was scared to be on her own. She also had no money and no where else to go so that factor was stopping her from running away.
This is the opposite of what Erik Erikson is trying to portray. On the other hand, Jack and Caroline share an intimate relationship but on a parent to child level. They both are able to reveal their true feelings to each other and trust each other so greatly. At the end of the film Caroline finally has the courage to stand up to Dwight and escape. They both ‘pack their bags ‘ (not actually) and run off. I believe that you have to have a high level of trust if you are able to Just run away with someone and hope that whatever happens the outcome will be positive.
The last stage called generativity versus stagnation. Erikson’s theory suggests that this task follows the formation of identity and the development of intimate relationships. On the social clock, it requires fidelity and love. The tasks of early adulthood are to determine first who you want to be and what ou want to do so that you are true to yourself (Holloway et al 100). This age occurs during middle adulthood between the ages of about 40 to 65. People in this stage are focused on nurturing or creating things that will outlast them. Feeling useful and contributing to society are important stages.
I think it shows stage because I feel that deep down Caroline knew she was doing the wrong thing. She knew marrying Dwight was the wrong thing and dating Rob before was also wrong, she knew that she was hurting Jack. That I think is the example of stagnation; her “failure” to find a way to ontribute, not so much to society but to herself and Jack. Also because Dwight would not let her work she never got the chance to go outside of the house and see what was happening in the real world. She was disconnected to society and therefore could not contribute anything.
Near the end of the film we see her wanting to work for the government, the want to help society is there but Dwight is stopping her. Generativity refers to “making your mark” on the world, through caring for others, creating things and accomplishing things that make the world a better place. Caroline did not necessary make the world a better place but she made her sons future a better place. By running away from Dwight and realizing that Jack was right and finally taking a stance she saved not only herself but Jack from anything bad that could have occurred in the future.
Daniel Levinson’s theory of the seasons of life is explained as “a person’s life structure is shaped mainly by their social and physical that is Jack kept hanging out in his social environment and not thinking about the future he would end up no where but thankfully he came to realization. He applied to umerous schools and finally got accepted to one. Other developmental theories that I found interesting to this film is the Conflict Theory. Conflict theory is an interdisciplinary sociological and political theory that explains how power, not functional interdependence, holds a society together.
It states that conflict exists between groups in society because of inequalities in power (Holloway et al 41). I think this theory applies to the film because in the household Dwight held all the power, whatever he says goes, his rules and no exceptions. It also states that if groups are in ompetition, then the needs of all will not be met equally. Since Dwight had the power of the house everyone else got yelled at if they stepped out of line. For example when Jack leaves the toothpaste cap open Dwight comes in and harasses him.
I also think that there is conflict between Jack and himself. Jack is unable to carry out his plan to escape Alaska because there is a conflict between his desire for freedom from Dwight and his desire to belong. A part of him is scared of being alone and taking responsibility for himself. His inner conflict about trying to be someone hat he isn’t is also present. He attempts to involve himself with a dangerous crowd in school, often getting in trouble, but when he applies for private boarding school he writes that he is am A student.
You can see that he is eager to change and reinvent himself to be a good person. Daniel Levinson’s theory of the seasons of life also can be compared to the movie. His theory has four major points; forming a dream and giving it a place in the life structure, forming mentor relationships, forming an occupation and forming love relationships, marriage and family. The dream is the ndividual’s sense of self in the adult world and is the core of the life structure (Holloway et al 103-104).
The dilemma is that until individuals begin to live out the life structure, all of the possibilities are not known, yet without some commitment to the choice they have made, it is not possible to determine whether the life structure might be realistic or satisfying (Holloway et al 104). You can clearly see that Jack is faced with many problems that likely every person will have to face at some point in their face. Commitment to a school, commitment to yourself and commitment to your tudies all play a whole in shaping who you are.
Jack could not commitment himself to school; he would slack and then would expect others to help him. The term serial monogamy is when a woman ‘marries several spouses, one after the other’ (Holloway et al 506). This does apply to Caroline. She is with her first husband Duke, then has an on and off relationship with Rob, then after she moves she marries Dwight. After she gets away from Dwight and her and Jake go their separate ways she marries another man. I would like to conclude this response with my personal opinion on the film. I really enjoyed this film; it made me relate to my own childhood.
Although I was not as unfortunate as the author, I was also raised in a single parent family and had to adjust to each of my parent’s new partners. I also daydreamed a lot when I young as did Jack. I think the film successfully tells the story with real people in it and has real problems, which are very common in society. I thought Robert De Niro’s performance is one of high points of the film, and he is extraordinary as the abusive father who seems pleasant and Jovial at time, but can turn violent when you hat he has acted in I think this one was his greatest.
Ellen Barkin I thought looked absolutely stunning but I wish her character could have been developed a little more. I kept wondering, during the film why she felt like withstanding Dwights abuse for such a long period was okay or why she couldn’t stand up. This is was based Offa true story it made me extremely sad to see that such people can abuse any human or animal. It’s a story of the growing pains of youths and an individual’s struggle to find identity and independence which at this stage in our life we can all relate too.

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