The new film Little Men is a painfully accurate portrait of childhood friendship

Being a kid is weird, and Ira Sachs' new movie captures this weirdness impeccably

Little Men comes out this month.
(Image credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Between the Duffer brothers' amazingly successful and creepy Netflix series Stranger Things and Ira Sachs' new film Little Men (out August 5), this summer feels rich in ambitious, dreamy, and sad coming-of-age projects that let younger actors shine. Childhood is back to being a subject directors and writers take up with some care, and the results are beautiful if — frankly — a little odd. That's as it should be: Childhood is weird, and the peculiar tilt of the field on which kids meet is a huge part of the drama of growing up and growing apart.

Little Men is about that tilt: Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri play the leads in this film — written by Sachs and his frequent collaborator Mauricio Zacharias — about two boys in Brooklyn. Taplitz plays Jake Jardine, the son of a psychotherapist (Jennifer Ehle) and a semi-successful actor (Greg Kinnear) whose grandfather dies, leaving the family a house in Brooklyn with a storefront downstairs. Barbieri plays Tony Calvalli, the son of a Chilean seamstress (Paulina García) who for years has being renting that storefront for a nominal sum. The boys become friends as the adults become enemies — this is just as much a story about family and friendship and class and gentrification in New York. The film's secret villain is money, and its secret theme is the adaptive amnesia kids develop when forced (by circumstances they don't understand) to fall in and out of love.

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