If I had just one reason to tell you to rent this, it would be to watch this for the sheer joy of seeing Leonardo DiCaprio in his younger years, showing off his acting chops.
That being said, it is also fascinating to watch this because Deniro plays one hell of a miserable warped bastard with a bad temper. It seems his goal in life is to make everyone as miserable as he is.
His character enjoys being a macho man, even if deep down inside, he is a hardly a man at all.
While he enjoys making others miserable, his main focus is DiCaprio's character.
This is based on a memoir and after viewing the movie I could not believe the author lived through this kind of life.
The movie is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.
The fact that it is a period piece( the movie starts in the 50's) is also a pleasure to watch, along with the songs of the era being played in the film's soundtrack.
After the movie I had to go online and read up on the author of this memoir.
You may find yourself just as interested to see what becomes of a boy that loves his mother so dearly, that he always agrees to go along with her wishes just to make her happy.
Wishes that he often knows are going to end up being nothing but heartache- for both of them.
The mother is played by Ellen Barkin, who fits very well into the role of a lovely and attractive single Mom of the 50's.
One who has resigned herself to another bad decision she has made.
She can do far better than Deniro- but she feels stuck and since the truth is that she *is* stuck, so is Dicaprio.
This is the first movie I have seen of DiCaprio as a youngster, before he hit the 'Titanic' wave of fame.
Deniro has played bad guys over the course of his movie career but nothing quite like this.
I would consider it a character study between DiCaprio and Deniro because their characters are complete opposites and yet they are a constant presence to one another, which makes what Dicaprio has to endure unavoidable.
This is a true human interest story - a film that shows Dicaprio had great acting ability in him, even at a young age. It has Deniro & Barkin together and a superb glance back into the 1950's era.
These are just a few good reasons to consider viewing this movie.