Thursday, August 11, 2016

Little Men Movie Review

Michael Barbieri & Theo Taplitz (r) star in Little Men

Little Men, Big Heart(s) 

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: When 13-year-old Jake's (Theo Taplitz) grandfather dies, his family moves from Manhattan back into his father's old Brooklyn home. There, Jake befriends the charismatic Tony (Michael Barbieri) whose single mother Leonor (Paulina GarcĂ­a), a dressmaker from Chile, runs the shop downstairs. Soon, Jake's parents Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) - one, a struggling actor, the other, a psychotherapist - ask Leonor to sign a new, steeper lease on her store. For Leonor, the proposed new rent is untenable, and a feud ignites between the adults. At first, Jake and Tony don't seem to notice; the two boys, so different on the surface, begin to develop a formative kinship as they discover the pleasures of being young in Brooklyn. Jake aspires to be an artist, while Tony wants to be an actor, and they have dreams of going to the same prestigious arts high school together. But the children can't avoid the problems of their parents forever, and soon enough, the adult conflict intrudes upon the borders of their friendship. Directed by Ira Sachs.

"The genesis of acting is seeing, observation (and) understanding what makes behavior." The art of portrayal is on vivid display in Sachs' sparkling Little Men. Few directors convey the intricacies of realism as well as Sachs (Love is Strange) and despite moments of intentional awkwardness, Little Men is a joy to watch. Everyone's good, but teen stars-in-the-making Barbieri and Taplitz steal the show, as best friends/polar opposites. Kinnear observes, "It's a terrible situation," compounded by the fact that all parties are right/justified to some degree. Then again, that's what makes (real) life so interesting. Take that Suicide Squad.

Grade: B+