In the new film, Little Men, when 13-year-old Jake’s (Theo Taplitz) grandfather dies, his family moves from Manhattan back into his father’s old Brooklyn home. There, Jake befriends the charismatic Tony (Michael Barbieri), whose single mother Leonor (Paulina Garcia), a dressmaker from Chile, runs the shop downstairs. Soon, Jake’s parents Brian (Greg Kinnear) and Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) — one, a struggling actor, the other, a psychotherapist — ask Leonor to sign a new, steeper lease on her store. For Leonor, the proposed new rent is untenable, and a feud ignites between the adults.
At first, Jake and Tony don’t seem to notice; the two boys, so different on the surface, begin to develop a formative kinship as they discover the pleasures of being young in Brooklyn. Jake aspires to be an artist, while Tony wants to be an actor, and they have dreams of going to the same prestigious arts high school together. But the children can’t avoid the problems of their parents forever, and soon enough, the adult conflict intrudes upon the borders of their friendship.
Directed by Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On, Forty Shades of Blue) with his trademark humanism and insight, Little Men highlights the New York City landscape with a story of life-defining friendships in the midst of familial turmoil.
What the critics are saying:
“As Leonor, Garcia, who killed as a grouchy middle-aged single woman in the Chilean “Gloria,” manages to combine grace with stridency.” – Matt Prigge, Metro
“I don’t know how to do justice to Garcia. When she smokes outside her shop, it’s as if her anger is keeping the cigarette burning.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine
“Garcia, though meek of manner, has a resilience that verges on the unnerving. We are so accustomed to cranky characters undergoing a sentimental sweetening that it’s a shock when Leonor does the opposite.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
“Garcia gives Leonor formidable strength of character.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Garcia is all simmering, passive-aggressive resentment as Leonor. Behind the character’s pinched smile, we sense a lifetime of having to put up with the more fortunate, always having to balance between being friendly and sticking up for herself.” – Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine
“One of the year’s best movies.”– The Huffington Post
“A gem. Tenderly observed. Brimming with truths about modern life.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“A moving feature that hits hard, thanks to wonderful performances and the kind of emotion that’s hard to fake.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire
“Real, and funny and wrenching all at once. Little Men gathers force as it goes.”– Bob Mondello, NPR
“✮✮✮✮✮. Achingly humane. Deeply moving. The cumulative effect is heart-rending.”– Nigel Smith, The Guardian
“An achingly tender gem of a film. There is so much poignancy and poetic power that it’s devastating.” – Dennis Dermody, Paper Magazine
“LUMINOUS. BIG-HEARTED FILMMAKING. If Martin Scorsese was the quintessential auteur of New York in the 1970s and ’80s, and Spike Lee that of New York in the late ’80s and ’90s, then Ira Sachs is gradually becoming the quintessential auteur of today’s New York” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
Little Men opens in New York on August 5th, with a nationwide rollout to follow.