Monday Night Film Series: Little Men

Category: movies 241
littlemen_mnfs_16Ira Sachs | USA, 2015
English | 85 minutes
With: Michael Barbieri, Theo Taplitz, Paulina García, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle

The latest from Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On) is a poignant look at the close but fleeting friendship between two boys during their formative years, set against rapid gentrification in New York City.

Jake Jardine (Theo Taplitz) is a sensitive, artistic, and lonely kid who moves to Brooklyn with his Manhattanite parents, Kathy (Jennifer Ehle, Zero Dark Thirty, The King’s Speech), a psychiatrist, and Brian (Greg Kinnear, Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As it Gets), an out-of-work stage actor. There, he meets Tony Calvelli (Michael Barbieri), a magnetic, fast-talking charmer and aspiring actor whose mother, Lenor (Paulina García, Much Ado About Nothing, Gloria) has inherited the Jardines as the new landlords of her long-standing dress shop. The boys become fast friends and spend carefree summer days roving the streets on their scooters and rollerblades.

The friendship has a particular impact on Jake, who doesn’t normally connect with people as easily as Tony does. However, things quickly begin to fall apart when the boys’ parents have a falling out over the market value of Lenor’s shop.

As with Sachs’ previous film, Love is Strange, Little Men is a small, personal story with a larger political undercurrent. The writer-director subtly critiques the constant state of economic flux in a city that can swallow whole even the privileged if they hit a run of bad luck. Cinematographer Óscar Durán keenly alludes to this by observing meaningful details that include the glittering Manhattan cityscape, just out of reach on the other side of the river. Yet Sachs resists oversimplification and sentimentality in favour of nuance. Aided in no small part by superb performances from the entire cast, he portrays his characters with a rare honesty, portraying all sides with impartiality.

Little Men | Monday Night Film Series | Tilley Hall, Room 102, UNB Campus | January 9, 2017 – 7:30pm | See full schedule

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