Bobby Garfield (DAVID MORSE) is a middle-aged photographer who's just received news that a childhood friend has died. Retuning home for the funeral, Bobby is flooded with memories of the summer of 1960 when he turned 11. It was then that he hung out with his best friends, Carol Gerber (MIKA BOOREM) and Sully (WILL ROTHHAAR), and lived with his single, widowed mother, Liz (Hope Davis).
With his father dead for five years and his mother painting a less than flattering picture of the man, young Bobby (ANTON YELCHIN) needs a male authority figure and gets one in the form of Ted Brautigan (ANTHONY HOPKINS), an older man who rents the upstairs apartment of the boarding house where Bobby and Liz live.
Drawn to the boy's need for a bigger view of the world, Ted hopes to enlighten Bobby after hiring him to read the newspaper -- to compensate for his failing eyesight - and keep watch out for the mysterious and well-dressed "low men" he knows will come looking for him.
As the summer progresses and Bobby and his friends must contend with Harry Doolin (TIMOTHY REIFSNYDER) and his small band of local bullies, he begins to learn more about life, his father and himself, all while picking up the ability to read minds, much like Ted, who now realizes his pursuers are progressively closing in on him.