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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Movie Review - Little Men

Little Men (2016)
Starring Greg Kinnear, Paulina García, Jennifer Ehle, Theo Taplitz, and Michael Barbieri
Directed by Ira Sachs
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I'd heard some really good things about the simplicity of Little Men and its portrayal of a charmingly realistic relationship between two childhood friends torn asunder by circumstances outside of their control.  While the friendship between the two teen boys is nicely portrayed by writer-director Ira Sachs, the film never kicks into gear, languishing in that aforementioned simplicity instead of being enhanced by it.

Following the death of his grandfather, thirteen year-old Jake (Theo Taplitz), his father Brian (Greg Kinnear), and mother Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) move into the Brooklyn apartment they inherited.  Their abode is located above storefront which Jake's grandfather rented out to Leonor (Paulina García) whose son Tony (Michael Barbieri) becomes fast friends with Jake despite their very different personalities.  When Brian discovers that his father was charging a very low rent to Leonor, he decides that he has no choice but to increase her monthly fee which unfortunately she is not able to pay, creating inevitable tension between the two sets of parents and leading them to forbid their children from seeing one another.

Young Taplitz and Barbieri have a nice chemistry with one another as best friends with Barbieri's brazen, no-nonsense New York attitude the highlight of the film.  However, even at 85 minutes, Little Men just drags with much too little dramatic gravitas to land successfully.  Sure, there's "story" here, but its slice-of-life nature didn't land with this reviewer in a way that caused me to really be invested in the characters.  While Sachs' film admittedly feels realistic, it never feels well-rounded and its conclusion left me with a "That's all?"-type feeling, irritating me that I gave the flick even the short amount of time that I did.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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