DVD Review: Little Men

littlemendvd1STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Ira Sachs | CAST: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina García, Alfred Molina, Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri
RELEASE DATE: 12/6/16 | PRICE: DVD $17.99
BONUSES: featurette, casting sessions
SPECS: PG | 85 min. | Drama | 1.66:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video  | Overall

A small, low-key movie with an emotional punch, the latest from indie stalwart Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On), Little Men is a real New York story, vividly shot on location and percolating with a vibe of a newly gentrified area of Brooklyn.

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Theo Taplitz (l.) and Michael Barbieri in Little Men

It’s there where struggling actor Brian (Greg Kinnear, Green Zone) and his psychotherapist wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle, TV’s MI-5) move after inheriting Brian’s late father’s property. Downstairs is a dress shop owned by resourcefully manipulative Chilean immigrant Leonor (Paulina Garcia,  The 33), a long-time friend of Brian’s dad. Faced with financial issues and the fact the leasing fee is way under market value, Brian decides  to bump up the store’s rent, threatening the future of the store and the friendship of the two families’  teenage boys (newcomers Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri).

The film presents some difficult predicaments and subtly sweeps the audience into the middle of a series of dilemmas involving social class, friendship and finances. Co-writer/director Sacks changes course from his frequent subject of gay love to showcase the strong bond between the two young male friends, and how they deal with the disappointments of the grown-ups actions around them. All the performances are terrific, including cameos from Alfred Molina  (TV’s Show Me a Hero) and Talia Balsam (No Strings Attached), but it is truly the bravura turns by young Taplitz and Barnieri who make this movie touching and memorable.

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.