Gritty yet inspiring, based-upon-a-true story of an angry young gangster-criminal who gets paroled, faces the hardships of being a parolee, and manages to stay out despite the temptations of going back to his old "friends" and lifestyle. The time-shifts between James as a delinquent at 14 and James as a convict several years later are well-synchronized even though his appearance hardly changes over the years. Violent with some fairly mild gore, it goes no further in those areas than is really necessary. JAMESY BOY is quite watchable, but it has neither the impact nor the originality that it aims for.
Both the script of protagonist "Jamesy Boy" and Spencer Lofranco's performance as same are so-so, by-the-numbers. We simply don't get to know this character as well as we should. More on his earlier life and background might have helped. Some of the supporting cast, particularly Taissa Farmiga as James's friend, might-have-been girlfriend or even wife Sarah, and Ving Rhames as the tough old convicted murderer who encourages James to pursue the catharsis of writing --something he's always halfheartedly done--give excellent performances. I agree: We hear very little of James's poetry and musings, and more in that area might have been a plus. Yet, the whole point seems to be that, even though his writing is nothing exceptional and he doesn't have any big dreams of "making it" as a poet/author, the very act of writing still gives James a means of expression and purpose that saves him in the end.
Probably worth seeing if you generally like crime drama with young gangster characters and prison settings.