How Little We Know (Movie Thoughts: Little Men)

littlemen282016film29Who says there’s no drama in real estate? Just like in his last film, Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” the drama in this movie is propelled by New York City’s ever changing real estate market.  Jake (Theo Lipsitz) is thirteen years old, an artistic loner, and has problem making friends. When his grandfather dies, he moves to the Brooklyn neighborhood with his family in the building his grandfather owned. He forms an unlikely friendship with Tony (Michael Barbieri) the son of Leonor, who rents the store at the base of same building. Jake and Tony’s tight friendship is threatened when Leonor’s rent is raised because the neighborhood is starting to enjoy a gentrification process.

As much as this story drives the movie, this is also a coming-of-age and first heartbreaks – when we meet people and then they leave our lives. Of course, this is true of our first best friend, and sometimes that is more hurtful than our first (romantic) love. As thirteen year olds, Jake and Tony are still looking for their specific spaces in the world, and sometimes we know where exactly we are going, but end up at a different place. Tony is an aspiring actor, and he and Jake planned to go to La Guardia School of Arts. But only one of them ends up there, and ultimately, that is the piece that breaks their friendship apart. I loved the final scene here, when Jake sees his friend at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presumably after a period of time that has been separated. He sees his friend there- and he is reminded of the person who once knew so well – and probably still does. But who he sees seems to almost be a stranger. Such is the mystery of friendships sometimes.

I loved this film, and it made me ponder about life, of how we love different people in our lives with different intensities, but somehow the feeling is all the same. Compared to your Hollywood Sci Fi blockbuster, this is tiny, but there is more emotion here than a whole superhero franchise.

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