Queens Mitte der Achtzigerjahre, ein Stadtteil unter der Kontrolle des Immobilienentwicklers Fred Trump. Ein weißer Teenager studiert an der überwiegend weißen Kew-Forest School, freundet sich dort mit einem der wenigen schwarzen Jungs an. Als nach einem gemeinsamen Vorfall nur der schwarze Junge verhaftet und in den Jugendknast gesteckt wird, lernt der weiße Junge eine bittere Lektion für seine Zeit als Erwachsener.
New York in the late summer of 1980: Paul (Banks Repeta) is the youngest member of a well-off Jewish family. But between his busy mother Esther (Anne Hathaway), his trying but strict father Irving (Jeremy Strong) and his quarrelsome brother Ted (Ryan Sell), he often feels lonely and lost. Only his loving grandfather Aaron (Anthony Hopkins) seems to truly understand him and encourage his interests. At the start of the new school year, Paul meets Jonathan (Jaylin Webb), a black boy who is a "dropout" living in poor conditions with his ailing grandmother. He befriends the older boy who, despite all his problems, firmly believes in values like honesty and loyalty. But it doesn't take long for Paul to become increasingly aware that not everyone has the same opportunities in this world.