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Jake is a quiet, sensitive middle schooler with dreams of being an artist. He meets the affably brash Tony at his grandfather's funeral, and the unlikely pair soon hit it off. The budding friendship is put at risk, however, when a rent dispute between Jake's father, Brian, and Tony's mother, Leonor, threatens to become contentious.

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Little Men movie full length review - Stunning family/neighbors relationship drama is one of the year's best movies

"Little Men" (2016 release; 92 min.) brings the story of two young men, Jake and Tony. Jake is a 13 yr. old only child and after his grandfather passes away, his dad inherits the Brooklyn building.

It's not long before mom Kathy, dad Brian and Jake move in (more room than their cramped Manhattan place). At the ground level of the building there is a small store (a tailor/clothing store) rented out to Leonor, a Latina woman who has a 13 yr. old son Tony. As it happens, Jake and Tony immediately hit it off and become fast (and inseparable) friends. All seems well, until one day Jake's parents need to confront Leonor over the sweetheart (and below market) lease deal which Brain's dad had given to Leonor... At this point we're 15-20 min, into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from writer-director Ira Sachs, best known for the unexpected modestly successful indie movie "Love Is Strange" a few years back. Here he goes a very different tact, examining how 13 yr. olds deal with their parents getting into a business dispute. The first 15-20 min, of the movie, when everyone gets along with everyone, cleverly set you up for some unexpected but very real life issues: money is tight for everyone, and you like all the major characters, yet some (or perhaps all?) will get hurt down the road. The movie is helped immensely by top notch acting performances, starting with the two boys (played by newcomers). Greg Kinnear brings an eye-opening performance as the struggling actor/dad/Brian. I can't recall Kinnear displaying such a conflicted state of mind as in this one. Also mega-kudos to Chilean actress Pauline Garcia, who delighted us a few years ago with her performance in "Gloria" (and which should have garnered an Oscar nomination, frankly). The role she plays here couldn't be further from "Gloria", but it is an equally stunning performance.

"Little Men" opened with positive buzz at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it finally opened this past weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Wednesday early evening screening where I saw this at turned out to be a private screening: I was literally the only person in the theater. That is a darn shame, as this movie truly deserves to be seen. In fact, I'll just state it: this movie is one of the five best movies I've seen this year (and I see a lot of them). If you are in the mood for a top-notch family/neighbors relationship drama with loads of top acting performances, you cannot go wrong with this, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "Little Men" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!