Sachs’ consummately honed skill in creating multi-layered characters negotiating the often thorny vagaries of modern life finds mature expression in Little Men, a nuanced, emotionally satisfying film set in the increasingly gentrified New York borough of Brooklyn.
Jake and Tony effortlessly become firm friends as Jake settles into the Brooklyn neighbourhood his parents move back to when his father, Brian, inherits. Tony’s mother, Leonor – played by Chilean star, Pauline Garcia, so memorable in Sebastian Lello’s Gloria (2013) – runs a small dress shop out of the building’s ground floor. Despite good intentions, the issue of Leonor’s ongoing tenancy becomes a bone of contention, with consequences that spill over into the boys’ deepening friendship.
“Much like Love is Strange, director Ira Sachs’s Little Men captures the modern New York City landscape with a tender and intelligent relationship portrait, this time through the life-defining friendship of two teens caught in the middle of familial tumult…The friendship struck by Jake and Tony forms the heart of the film, with Sachs observing this connection with humanism and insight to ultimately craft a timely, sophisticated story of displacement and class.” Film Society of Lincoln Center
Opens 8 Dec
Thirteen year old Jake (Theo Taplitz) is a shy, artistically gifted high school student. He meets the confident, extroverted Tony (Michael Barbieri) at his grandfather's funeral and the pair hit it off. Their friendship is strained, however, when a rent dispute between Jake's middle class parents, Brian, an actor (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy Jardine (Jennifer Ehle), a psychotherapist, and Tony's mother, Leonor Calvelli (Paulina Garcia), becomes intractable.