Memoir-based drama about a teenage boy and his abusive stepfather starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Toby (DiCaprio), based on author Tobias Wolff, and his mother, Caroline (Ellen Barkin), are an unsettled pair. Toby's father left them when the boy was young and the abusive behaviour of Caroline's latest boyfriend forces them to move cities. When she is seduced by the charming figure of Dwight Hansen (De Niro) their luck appears to have changed: Dwight offers to take in the troubled Toby while Caroline sorts her life out. Dwight, however, turns out to be a vicious disciplinarian, who argues furiously with the rebellious Toby. The boy's dreams of escape grow as the violence of his stepfather increases, but can he find a way out before it's too late?