The film version of This Boy's Life was an interesting way of visually telling the story. The director made many stylistic choices that really had an impact on the film. There are many moments that could have been enriched with a different choice not following the same pattern as the rest of the movie. The music did go with the action on screen, but seemed to lack energy at certain points that could benefited from it. The camera angles were thought out and planned ahead, but looking back there were many opportunities to get much more intrusive and eye catching angles that would have brought the action closer to the audience. Looking back at this film today puts it in a category that is hard to compete with recent movies. It is easier to think that they decided against shooting all of the book because of time and money constraints than that the other parts weren't as good as the rest of the story. After reading the book first and then seeing the movie, it is much harder to believe the movie since it jumps into the story rather than starting from the beginning. .
When you compare the book and the movie, the book is the clear winner because it goes into greater detail where the film could not or would not. As with most movies based on books, much is missed in the screen version of this true story. The film would have you believe that young Toby is a loveable brat who fancies trouble, but the book tells of a more complex and disturbed child--one who has a rich imagination, and is essentially kind (especially to his mother), but who lies consistently and refuses to accept his own faults. Dwight is portrayed well in the film as a mean and immature man, but the movie fails to show how Toby himself parallels Dwight: they are both liars, for one; and Dwight's insistence on "molding" Toby make one wonder.Throughout the book, Toby's greatest danger at the hands of his step-father is the possibility that Dwight will succeed in turning Toby into him.