Little Men @ The Ross

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Tony (Michael Cavelli) and Jake (Theo Taplitz)

One of the hardest things for parents to realize is that some decisions made by them can alter the exterior and, even more important, the interior lives of their children for a lifetime.

Some decisions can be altered given the circumstances; others cannot be helped no matter how many the twist and the turn.

Independent filmmaker Ira Sachs tackles the emotional turmoil of two families whose hearts are torn asunder because of one decision surrounding a piece of property: a brownstone in Brooklyn, New York. His film Little Men, starring Greg Kinnear, Paulina Garcia, and Jennifer Ehle, is a neatly packed drama focusing on the friendship between Jake Jardine and Tony Cavielli, played with remarkable emotional insight respectively by Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri. After the death of his grandfather, Jake’s parents Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle), move into a Brooklyn brownstone willed to them by Brian’s father. Living and working below them is Leonor Cavielli, Tony’s mother, an accomplished entrepreneur who utilizes the space as a sewing center and dress shop. Dire financial circumstances undercut the “new adventure” taken by family Jardine. Kathy has been supporting the family on her income as Brian pushes for a career in theater. To where does Kathy look to augment their income? Leonor’s dress shop.

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Brian and Leonor negotiate

While Leonor, Kathy, and Brian go back and forth through some very unpleasant negotiations, the middle schoolers Jake and Tony enjoy the city of Brooklyn and cast day dreams about their hopes and plans for the future. In just a few months, little does Jake know, the choices made by his parents will alter his friendship with Tony beyond repair. What is more, neither he nor Tony will have control no matter the demonstration to the Jardines the emotional impact on these little men.

Sachs is genius in the portrayal of male teenage angst. Within Jake’s and Tony’s innocence, Sachs intersperses a raw critique of the high cost of living in Brooklyn, New York. You know, adult stuff. Through Leonor the desperation to hold on to a home promised to her by the late Elder Jardine who failed to write her into his will is downright soul shattering. Paulina Garcia interprets Leonor’s economic anxiety—if not torment—with such honesty, and you will want to rescue her from these troubles and teach the Jardines a thing or two about compassion.

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Watch for Film . Television . & More from The Dreher Report.

In the meantime, watch some TV! Catch a film and share the popcorn! Watch TV! Feed your soul!

 

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