Magnolia Pictures | Release Date: August 5, 2016
7.7
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Generally favorable reviews based on 50 Ratings
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38
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9
Negative:
3
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6
JcondicDec 4, 2016
Kids always seem to make friends easier than adults, but they also find it easier to let go of friends. This is a touching little film and friendship is at the heart of it, I kept waiting for some sort of bigger reveal but it never came theKids always seem to make friends easier than adults, but they also find it easier to let go of friends. This is a touching little film and friendship is at the heart of it, I kept waiting for some sort of bigger reveal but it never came the film is as you see you. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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6
SpangleJan 20, 2017
Little Men is a solid film from director Ira Sachs. A film about the friendship between two boys and how it becomes fractured due to a business dispute between their parents, the film feels real. At every turn, it feels like real life. TheseLittle Men is a solid film from director Ira Sachs. A film about the friendship between two boys and how it becomes fractured due to a business dispute between their parents, the film feels real. At every turn, it feels like real life. These are real people and get authentic performances from good, down to earth actors. That said, Little Men is hardly perfect. Though it really captures the look and feel of Brooklyn and the surrounding community, in addition to its characters, it just feels so slight. It covers the topics of young male friendship, immaturity, and lack of understanding between parents and children, but it never does it in an acceptable depth. The film sort of appears, touches on these topics, and then disappears because it is far too short. That said, it does have moments of real resonance that stand out and make this a more than worthwhile experience.

Little Men introduces us to Tony Calvelli (Michael Barbieri) and Jake Jardine (Theo Taplitz). Following the death of Jake's grandfather, he and his parents move into his Brooklyn apartment and now own the store space below the apartment. Currently, the store is owned by Tony's mother, Leonor (Paulina Garcia). Unfortunately, she has been paying very little due to a favorable relationship with Brian Jardine's (Greg Kinnear) now deceased father. As Brian is a failing actor and his wife is the sole breadwinner for the family, he desperately needs to raise the lease amount. His sister also is pressuring him to do so, leading to friction with Leonor. This friction gets to the kids who, in an act of unity, refuse to talk to their parents. Yet, despite everyone's best intentions, the families are tragically driven apart.

It is in this relationship between the families that the film really soars. A lack of communication permeates this film and is what really drives them apart. People avoid confrontation or simply use muteness as a sign of disagreement. This really only exacerbates their problems, as little Jake soon realizes. In an emotional moment of the film, he has an outburst in front of everybody and apologizes to his dad for not talking to him and begs to understand why they are doing this to the Calvelli's. This outburst highlights the importance of communication (sometimes too much of it) and how it has led to the crumbling of relations between these two, once close, families. On this note, however, the observations feel relatively mundane and overly slight. It never dives into them enough and what really makes these people tick. It adds elements - such as Jake likely being gay - to add depth to the characters and add to the realism, but much of it never really impacts the film or the characters in any meaningful way. While that is fine, it would have been nice if it had added to the themes explored in the film or even the overall disintegration of the relationships in the film.

That said, the friendship in the film between Jake and Tony is terrific. Willing to defend each other no matter what, the fast friends are solidly acted by the young actors. They can be loose around one another and express their hopes and dreams, without fear of judgment. They encourage one another from the start and can simply pal around and do whatever. Really a tenderly written friendship, this element of the film is one of the best parts of Little Men and why it deserves the acclaim it has received for the most part. Not too many films create such a delicate and tender look at teenage male friendships, yet this one does and its authenticity is astounding.

The film also introduces an important theme of masculinity. Brian Jardine is not really a man in the eyes of people like Leonor. Her husband is off in Africa being a nurse and she also views this as not manly enough, as he clearly does not provide. Yet, she really looks down on Brian, even telling him that his father thought the same and told her as much. Since Brian is a struggling actor, his psychotherapist wife is the breadwinner and pays for everything they own. Though Brian and his wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) are fine with the arrangement, the reversal of gender roles is a tough issue for many to accept and even Brian struggles. You can see that there is something within him that is bothered by this arrangement and a conversation with Leonor really brings it to light. Unfortunately, like many other things in the film, it is introduced and then taken away far too soon.

Little Men is an incredibly slight film. It is too short for the amount of themes it wants to and it approaches those themes tepidly. While it is well acted, the film simply never really does nearly enough with its characters or its themes to be anything more than an above average film with the potential to be better. That said, as a business major, I do appreciate that Sachs took care to not demonize the Jardine family for kicking out Leonor and her business. It is a business decision, pure and simple. I would evict her too.
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6
horizonbtsJan 2, 2017
I liked the premise of the movie and was beautifully acted by the two young men playing the main parts. Have always been a fan of Greg Kinnear I also thought he done a decent job of playing the father. That being said it is a plain andI liked the premise of the movie and was beautifully acted by the two young men playing the main parts. Have always been a fan of Greg Kinnear I also thought he done a decent job of playing the father. That being said it is a plain and simple movie based on life's ups and downs, bottom line is the word simple as it lost many opportunities to expand and develop the storyline even more. There were so many avenues it could have expanded upon including the relationship between the boys, the grandfathers death, their friends at school, the father's lack of a real job and support, and the list goes on. The movie leaves a lot up to you to digest and make your own conclusions including the abrupt ending. Expand
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8
swingAug 14, 2016
Really good acting. The story was a bit predictable but it's just a little human interest story. It's a small story focusing on the two boys who are really stars of the film. There are some really emotional scenes to look
forward to. One
Really good acting. The story was a bit predictable but it's just a little human interest story. It's a small story focusing on the two boys who are really stars of the film. There are some really emotional scenes to look
forward to. One is the seamstress talking about the grandfather. Another is one of the boys finding out what's happening to his best friend's family. There's also a very funny scene of one of the boys who wants to be an actor. Like i said, it's a small story.
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5
LeZeeJun 15, 2017
Friendship or business!

This is a pure drama. Like a real life event, though there's no documentary style narration influenced. Thematically very, very simple, and also the characters, but too flat when it comes to entertainment value. Of
Friendship or business!

This is a pure drama. Like a real life event, though there's no documentary style narration influenced. Thematically very, very simple, and also the characters, but too flat when it comes to entertainment value. Of course, drama-films usually does not entertain its viewers, except for who are ardent fans of that genre. Apart from depicting the real life, sometimes they carry messages with them. But this film has no tick marks on any of those boxes. So it is a boring film if you pick it to watch when you're on the average or in the bad mood. I did not feel that way, just hinting out it could do that for others.

The storyline had no focal point. It is neither a children's film, nor about the grownups' issues. But kind of mix of both on a small scale with strong outcome. Pretty much like on the two topics it was developed on. One was the 'death' which initiated everything and followed by the 'shop' that helped to make further progress in the tale. So using these, the film characters bloomed. Even though, these topics come into play occasionally and in the meantime, the scenes were wasted or you can say it followed the character to their daily routine to fill the film runtime.

So what's that mean is the screenplay, which was not at its best. It does not follow the traditional film way on the character developments. Like I expected the friendship between two boys like how they find each other as to emerge a strong bond. That did not happen. It was just like I said in the real life, too casual and understandable.

The same goes for the adult characters as well. When they decide to handle the shop issue, it was like hesitation like any average concerned family does. So this film will be good if your life is/was close to the events in the film. Like either it is your friendship that tested or dealing the sensitive issue as a grown-up that affects deeply those concerned ones.

❝Once again, our warm, lovable, unwise father has left us a big mess and no instructions.❞

Now you might think what this film is all about. This is the story of the two families connected with a building. Opens with a small Manhattan family arriving in Brooklyn to conduct the last rite to their deceased father. They are received by another family who rented the shop in the ground floor. Both the family has the young boys of the same age and following the ceremony, the two become very close. But when their parents decide to sort out the shop issue, it's all fall hard on them and their friendship. The remaining is to reveal the outcome of whatever happened.

You might be familiar with the quote that goes like this, 'a friendship founded on business in better than a business founded on friendship'. Basically, that's where the film inspired from. But it expanded to two sets of the characters, between the youngsters and the adults. These two categories are exactly opposite in mindset. Youngsters usually does not care about money that involves friends, but for adults, money is a serious matter to handle. The 'business' is attached to the parents and the 'friendship' drawn between their children.

Now that's the complication involves as many people as to solve without affecting anybody. But most of the film was overwhelmed by scenes of other than this issue. They ignored to focus completely on where it had calibre. I felt the casting was the best thing happened in the film, particularly those boys. Alfred Molina, who played one of the main characters in the director's previous film was appeared here in a guest role for like a minute. The rest of them were decent as well, including Greg Kinnear.

The film was just under the 90 minutes, yet too slow paced narration. Does not fit for everyone to watch. Imagine if this film was played on the television, with all the commercial breaks, you won't able to finish it off. Not without patience, because it is already dull, and if you will run out that, that's it. A lot like a product for the film festivals and it did fared decently on those platforms, but surely some people would find it good. So now you might think what my stance is. I liked it, also didn't. An average film with a slipped away opportunity. I am not sure, but still feel like I want to suggest it.

5/10
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8
moviemitch96Sep 10, 2016
A very simple yet endearing and well-acted film. The film shows great virtues of friendship throughout and simply made for a really well-made character study, particularly between the two young actors playing the sons. Greg Kinnear andA very simple yet endearing and well-acted film. The film shows great virtues of friendship throughout and simply made for a really well-made character study, particularly between the two young actors playing the sons. Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle also turned in worthwhile performances as well. Overall, despite its simplicity, the story warmed my heart and all of the actors in the film gave charming performances. Expand
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9
GusA1iveJan 4, 2017
Fantástico trabajo interpretativo. Un guión profundo y envolvente con clara influencia francesa. Un drama de esos que se ven pocos, pero le hacen mucha falta a la industria cinematográfica. Increíble.
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