1.29.2016

Sundance Review: Little Men


Not every Sundance movie gets a ton of attention. Some debut at the festival with little to no fanfare, even when they're directed by accomplished directors and feature strong actors. Sometimes they'll even get great reviews, and yet they still don't seem to draw much attention to themselves. Such is the case with Ira Sachs's latest feature Little Men, a film so simple and unassuming that it's easily being overlooked and lost in the shuffle of other great films.


Little Men is not a movie designed to blow you away, but rather to simply make you ponder life's little intricacies. The movie focuses on the friendship of two preteen boys: an easy friendship formed by proximity. These two live in their own world, enjoying their time together and are oblivious to the problems of their parents. As such, they are not aware of their parents' feud over a lease that threatens to destroy their respective realities. There's something wonderful about the juxtaposition of the world of the adults with the world of these two preteen boys. The problems and disagreements we face as adults are messy and driven by many different factors (though usually with money being involved, as in the case of his parents.) Meanwhile, the existence we live as kids seems so much more pure. Differences still exist, especially when bullying occurs (as it does in a scene here)...but there's a far more trusting innocence that draws us to certain people that disappears when we're adults.



Little Men is a great portrayal of a friendship that only exists because of proximity. This to me reflects the type of friendships you had as a kid that at the time you valued with all your heart, but when you grew up and became different people, (as well as physically and figuratively went different ways...) the friendship dissipated. You discovered you really had nothing in common and the friendship was only really there to be a part of your life for a short time. I kept waiting for a scene where the two boys' bond was solidified but realized that when there was none...it was actually far closer to real life. When you're a kid, you don't need a reason to be friends with someone. You just spend time with them and that time is all the bonding you need. Whether it's playing video games or rollerblading in the park...just having someone to share your company is enough. It's not until we get older and more insecure with the hurts we've had to experience that we allow those friendships to fade in favor of ones with people who understand the version of ourselves that we've become. Or as Greg Kinnear puts it, when you've reached the point that you can understand that your parents are just people too, trying to make the best decisions they can. There are varying levels of meaning you can derive from Little Men (some heavy-handed, others very simple), but for me, I took it at its core: a story about the relationships we have when we're young, and how life will turn us into the adults we become....the adults who build walls and look out for themselves above others. It's a simple film, but one I enjoyed. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10 

6 comments:

Sarah said...

That sounds like a really interesting movie. It's cool when a movie pinpoints something you knew all along, but didn't know you knew. It's a really interesting observation that as kids, we are often friends with others simple because they are our neighbor, but when we grow up, we tend to search out the people we "click" with.

Joey said...

I wish I could have seen it. :( I had an experience to that similar in my life. Hope I get the chance sometime.

Rob said...

Why do you say they have nothing in common? They both want to attend LaGuardia school for the performing arts, both love video games and seem to bond over being outraged about the eviction. They also defend each other even when the other isn't physically present. I thought they had a fairly deep friendship for their age.

Emily said...

Hmm. I'm sure it was deep to them, but obviously not lasting enough of a connection or the last scene would have played differently. Playing video games and wanting to go to the same school are enough to bind a relationship as a child, but not as an adult. At least not for me.

Emily said...

Also, if you read the review carefully, I never said THEY had nothing in common. I was talking about those type of childhood friendships. More specifically thinking of my own than their's necessarily.

Unknown said...

Small point, but you refer to the boys as "pre-teen", when, in fact, at least one states he is 13 years old.

Also, your comment in response to Rob should have a "spoiler alert" label. Sort of...