Little Men

Little Men Information

Little Men is a 2016 American drama film directed by Ira Sachs. It had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and had its European premiere as a cross-section selection in the Generations and Panorama sections at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.


After his elderly father dies, Brian Jardine (Greg Kinnear) moves his wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) and 13-year-old son Jake (Theo Taplitz) into a Brooklyn apartment they have inherited. The two-story building has a tenant in the ground-level space; a dress shop run by Leonor Calvelli (Paulina Garcia) and her 13-year-old son Tony (Michael Barbieri). Jake and Tony become fast friends despite having very different personalities. Jake is quiet and reserved and spends much of his time sketching or painting, whereas Tony is talkative and gregarious. Tony is an aspiring actor who attends regular classes at Brooklyn's Acting Out! school and dreams of attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School to pursue a performing arts education. Jake decides he wants to attend the same school for his painting. The boys bond through everyday activities like skating around the borough, attending a teen rave, and giving their respective parents the silent treatment when disagreements occur. Tony even starts (and gets the worst of) a fight with his classmates when they insult Jake's sexuality.

The Jardines discover that Brian's father has been charging Leonor an unusually small rent on her store. Since Brian's acting career is stagnant and the family is almost entirely supported by Kathy's work as a psychotherapist, they inform Leonor that her rent will need to be tripled, still placing it below market value for the changing neighborhood. Leonor makes emotional appeals to Brian, claiming that she and his father were close friends and that he would want Brian to be generous to her. Brian is reluctant to take direct legal action against Leonor, partly due to the fact that he's simply glad his introverted son has finally made a friend. After receiving an ultimatum from his sister Audrey (Talia Balsam), he formally evicts the Calvellis.

Jake is devastated and tearfully pleads Tony's case, but is made to face reality. Brian encourages Jake to return his focus to his art and his upcoming application to LaGuardia. Some time later, Jake accompanies a group of fellow art students on a museum visit and is surprised to see Tony and some of his classmates on a tour. Jake watches from across a large atrium as Tony walks away, then quietly rejoins his own group to work on another sketch.



Critical response

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97% based on 132 reviews and an average rating of 8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Little Men takes a compassionate look at the ways in which adult problems impact childhood friendships "? and offers another affecting New York drama from director Ira Sachs." On another aggregator, Metacritic, the film has a score of 88 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim"..

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2016 2016 Indiewire Critics' Poll Best Overlooked Film "Little Men"
2017 32nd Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female Paulina Garcia
Best Screenplay Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias

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