Time Out says
In this New York indie, parents fight over a Brooklyn building while their children grow up around them
New York filmmaker Ira Sachs is so humane he couldn’t write a villain to save his life. That’s even true in his latest film, the story of a family evicting a sweet seamstress on to the street. The Jardines are decent people: Brian (Greg Kinnear) is an unsuccessful actor and his wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) is a therapist. After the death of his dad, Brian inherits his childhood home, a handsome Brooklyn building. But with money tight, the couple decides to triple the insanely low rent of the single Chilean mother (Paulina García) whose downstairs shop has been a neighbourhood fixture for decades.
‘Little Men’ is too sophisticated to blame all this on gentrification. Rather, all these are people are in a tough spot, and Sachs develops their conflicting views in a calm, grown-up manner. But as the title suggests, it’s really a movie about the kids: brainy Jake (Theo Taplitz) and sparky Tony (Michael Barbieri) become fast friends even as their parents go to war. The movie gets comic mileage out of the boys’ shared love of acting and video games – and girls are peeking over the horizon.
‘Little Men’ impresses with its quiet, confident maturity. In a larger sense, it completes a trio of Ira Sachs films devoted to the pressures of city life and the daily grace required to get by together in a place home to millions. (Hunt out the two: ‘Keep the Lights On’ and the heartbreaking ‘Love Is Strange’.) These films are the younger cousins to landmarks by Woody Allen and Spike Lee – and they have wisdom beyond their apartment blocks.
Cast and crew