Based off of the true story of Jim Carroll, we get to watch a talented young boy spiral into madness with the help of heroin and pills he can't even name. It's one of Leonardo's best performances and one of the mot realistic portrayals of drug addiction out there.
Jim is a poet, a great basketball player, and an even better friend until somehow or another he's shooting up heroin, beating up old women, breaking into stores, getting kicked out of his house, accidentally killing a few people, relapsing more than once, and seeing his friends get taken to jail one by one.
The reason this movie is so powerful is because this isn't some kid from a broken home who didn't have a support system or love in his life to distract him from drugs. He wasn't wealthy, but he was doing alright. He was set to play college basketball, had plans to write a novel, and he just wanted to be your average boy from Harlem.
I thought that they were going to try to blame his drug experimentation on his grief over his best friend dying, but it was just him being a boy growing up with other boys and being bored.
He tried inhalants which was a slippery slope into injecting. The addiction just sort of...happened.