Friendships are a big deal in our younger years. Writer-director Ira Sachs is very much clued into this reality with Little Men, a beautiful little movie about a family moving to Brooklyn after a relative has left them a home.
Greg Kinnear, in his best role in years, plays Brian, an actor on the downside of his career who moves with wife, Kathy (Jennifer Ehle), and son, Jake (Theo Taplitz), to the new Brooklyn home, where Jake instantly befriends the charismatic Tony (Michael Barbieri). They go to the same school together, play video games and aspire to become artists.
Tony’s mom (Paulina Garcia) operates a business in the home Brian has inherited. When Brian tries to raise her low rent, problems ensue, and despite the best of intentions, relationships are affected.
Everybody is terrific in this movie, especially Taplitz and Barbieri, who come off as very real. Kinnear, looking world-weary and just a little beat up, is a testament to how tough his chosen profession can be. Garcia has a few moments that are appropriately scary, while Ehle continues to be one of those actresses who quietly amazes.
Sachs is a director with amazing powers of observation; his film is full of moments that are deeply moving and strike chords. This is one of the year’s more wonderful under-the-radar films.
Little Men is now playing at the Tristone Palm Desert 10 Cinemas (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-340-0033).