Berlinale: Little Men

Little Men
Directed by Ira Sachs
Starring Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle and Paulina García

by Joanna Orland

Both what I like and dislike from director Ira Sachs’ previous film Love Is Strange can be found in his latest feature Little Men.  The score can often stray into the sappy and saccharine, overwhelming the narrative of the film with its repetitive incorporation.  Yet, much like Love Is StrangeLittle Men is a beautiful observational drama with a sense of realism that truly brings Sachs’ characters to life on screen.

Whereas Love Is Strange is an exploration of love between two men, Little Men is an exploration of friendship between two boys.  Jake is not keen on his family moving from his Manhattan apartment to his deceased grandfather’s address in Brooklyn.  Jake finds light in the darkness as he befriends Tony, the son of the woman who owns a shop in his family’s building.  The boys become very close, and so begins the beautiful tale of their friendship.

The boys never find conflict with one another, but it is with their parents that the conflict of the film arises.  A platonic Romeo and Juliet, the boys find themselves in the middle of a family battle as Jake’s father attempts to increase the rent of Tony’s mother due to familial and economic matters beyond his control.  As the parents battle with each other, the boys never do, yet their friendship is torn apart by the actions of their parents.

A tender tale of friendship, Little Men is another restrained and delicate drama from director Ira Sachs.




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