St Louis, 1933. The Great Depression. Twelve-year-old Aaron (Bradford) has the richest imagination in the class and the poorest parents. They board in a dilapidated hotel in the wrong part of town. Mother (Eichhorn) goes into hospital, suffering from what looks like general malaise. Father (Krabbé) sends away Aaron's younger brother to live with his aunt, and when a job finally comes his way, he has no choice but to go on the road as a travelling salesman. That leaves Aaron to fend for himself, with some help from his steetwise pal Lester (Brody), and the kindly concern of the odd sympathetic adult. If Soderbergh could be said to be playing safe here, who could blame him after the ambitious but neglected Kafka? True the coming-of-age scenario holds few surprises, but this beautifully played film's sensitivity speaks volumes; Soderbergh lets his camera do the talking. What seems initially a nostalgic hue eventually becomes a harder, tougher tone. The result is both heartening and astringent.