In 1950s Sweden a 12 year old boy Ingemar (Anton Glanzelius) is sent to live with relatives. His father is away and his mother is slowly dying of some unnamed disease (I think it's tuberculosis) and can't handle him (he's VERY mischievous and always getting in trouble). With his relatives he grows up and learns how to deal with life, love, feelings of abandonment, sex etc etc.
Sounds pretty obvious but it isn't. This film is beautifully directed by Lasse Hallstrom and perfectly captures what it's like to be a young boy growing up. That it takes place in 1950s Sweden makes no difference--all young boys go through the feelings and emotions shown in this movie. Some posters have complained about a (brief) instance of a topless young girl. Well--like it or not, kids that age DO think about sex and do "explore" their feelings with other kids. I actually think it's great that this film didn't shy away from that subject. Glanzelius is just great in the role and has a VERY expressive face (some of the looks he gives are fascinating and hilarious too). An excellent film.
This was a surprise hit in the US in 1985. It was so big Glanzelius actually toured the country with his parents to promote the movie. I remember seeing it in 1985 and loving it--it still holds up. A must-see.