By Linda Marric @Linda_Marric
Fresh from the highly acclaimed Love Is Strange, Ira Sachs is back with a new production which deals with similar themes of New York real Estate and its devastating effects on human relations. Little Men tells the story of how the gentrification of a formally working class neighbourhood scuppers the burgeoning friendship between two adolescent boys who’s families become embroiled in a bitter rent dispute.
Sensitive, introvert Jake (Theo Taplitz) and son of latin American immigrants Tony (Michael Barbieri) spark up a sudden and intense friendship when Jake’s grandfather dies leaving his parents a spacious apartment in Brooklyn forcing the family to move back from the city and end up living above Tony’s mother shop, a shop which also now belongs to Jake parents.
Sach’s depiction of a complicated dynamic between the two families is done with masterful and measured subtlety, aided by a brilliant cast in the shape of Jennifer Ehle and Greg Kinnear as Jake’s well meaning liberal parents, and the excellent Paulina García as Tony’s mother. A special mention must also go to an inspired role for Alfred Molina as the family friend who does his best to help the mother and her son come out of the other side of a difficult situation.
As Romeo and Juliet stories go, Little Men is a sensitive tale which tugs at the heart strings, as Jake and Tony become inseparable, only to be pulled apart by their families inability to come to an understanding regarding their real estate dispute. Little Men is however not always perfect, its meandering script leaves you wanting to see less of the adults and more the boys, but by the time things start to get interesting the film is almost over. It is however a commendable piece of social filmmaking with an excellent cast from one the best writer/directors working at the moment.
Little Men has a digital release on www.wearecolony.com from Monday November 7th.