“This Boy’s Life” by Fitch Cady – Movie Summary
“This Boy’s Life” is produced by Fitch Cady and Art Linson, and directed by Michael Caton Jones. It was released in the April of 1993 and distributed by the Warner Bros Pictures. “This Boy’s Life” is based on the life of a woman (Caroline Wolff) who desperately wants to get a decent gentleman, settle down, and make a better life for both her and her son. So in 1957 after divorcing her latest boyfriend, Caroline decides to pack up and move to another location to try her luck in life. She settles in Utah where plans to enrich herself from Uranium (which has not been discovered there in the first place). Then Caroline moves with her son Toby who tells the audience that he had a father who left a very long time ago taking with him his older brother. She finds a new job and enrolls her son in a new school, but soon her ex-boyfriend tracks her down into the new city. Her ex-boyfriend becomes excessively controlling, and she has to run again.
Caroline and her son settle in the town of Seattle. While in this town Toby develops negative behavior problems including skipping school and talking about sex with his friends. At the time, Toby’s mother begins dating Dwight, a well-mannered and attractive man. Dwight invites Caroline and her son over to his place for the weekend. He praises his small town concrete hoping to get Caroline to come and stay with him. Toby does not get to enjoy the weekend because the rules forbid a minor from it. His mother is allowed to enter the shoot as the only woman and wins, though Dwight is not amused by her wins.
Back in their town of Seattle, Toby is suspended from school after being caught writing obscene words on the walls of the bathrooms. Caroline who is cash-strapped and desperate agrees to the suggestion by his suitor to have Toby stay with him. Dwight picks up Toby and reveals his other unpleasant side of his personality. He forces Toby to get a haircut, gives him a paper route and enrolls him into the boy scouts. Caroline also agrees to marry Dwight. However, Dwight and Toby do not agree on a lot of things. Dwight is also easily irritated and dislikes objections. Toby, on the other hand, does not like it when he keeps the proceeds from his paper route and at the same time refuses to get him the much-needed gym shoes.
Toby’s mother prefers not to get in between. His new father-in-law teaches him to beat up other people by telling him stories of how he used to do it too. Toby makes some friends but has a brutal encounter with Arthur who dislikes being called a homo. Arthur and Toby fight at first but in the end come to be friends. After stealing his father-in-law’s car one night, Dwight beats up Toby badly. Toby suggests to his mother that they should leave town again, but his mother says that she does not want to run and that it is best if they stay.
Two years down the line, we see Kennedy’s presidential bid. Caroline wishes to work in Kennedy’s campaign. Dwight who despises her intentions has also become abusive. Toby, on the other hand, wants to leave the concrete. He would like to get to college, but his bad grades cannot allow him. Arthur, his friend helps him to make some fake transcript which he uses to apply for colleges. Soon after he is hit by the reality that he might be forced to remain in this town and find a job like everyone else after colleges begin to turn down his applications.
Toby gets an interview with one college after accepting his application. Toby is able to convince the interviewer that he is suitable for a college education. Dwight attacks him after realizing that he has won a college scholarship. The two get into a bad fight which is stopped by Caroline who intervenes with a baseball bat. It finally dawns on Caroline that she does not have stomach Dwight’s ill mannerisms. Caroline and her son decide to leave town leaving Dwight complaining to himself about the misfortunes that befall him.
Later at the bus stop, we see Toby bidding his mother Caroline goodbye as she departs from the town. He is left waiting for his bus which is set to leave later in the day. The ending titles reveal how what fate the characters encounter in the end. Dwight never gets to leave concrete to his death. Caroline remarries, but happily, this time. At prep school, Toby is expelled. He joins the military where he serves as a soldier in Vietnam. He ends up as an author later in life.