Little men, directed by Ira Sachs and co-written with Mauricio Zacharias, is a sensitive mosaic of the wonders and heartaches of childhood. Primarily set in the heart of Brooklyn, the film centres on a young friendship between Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barbieri) as their families squabble over a dress shop lease. The story masterfully unveils how unknowingly adult lives affect the innocence of childhood. Right off the bat, Michael Barbieri steals the show. His performance throughout the film is flawless, charming and extremely natural on screen.

However, this film is not simply part of the coming-off-age genre. It blends aspects of family drama in a way that feels fresh and inviting. The adult characters underpin this separation in genre; Sachs and Zacharias cleverly allow the audience to see the inner workings of the adults, and how their behaviour affects the children simultaneously.

Little men’s characters feel exceptionally well developed, with very unique and understandable motivations that make the entire experience enjoyable and relatable. The film’s visual storytelling is masterful, showing the constrictions of adulthood against the freedoms of childhood. Often the adults appear constricted within frames, whereas the children are able to push past the confinements of boarders that try to contain them.

However, dialogue is problematic at times; particularly Jake, whose lines on occasion feel stilted and slightly forced.

Despite this, Little Men is stylish, funny and emotional, a must see this EIFF.

Joel Gutteridge

Wed 22 June, 8.45pm, Cineworld

Thurs 23 June, 6.20pm, Cineworld

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