>>> Little Men offers big rewards

Two Brooklyn teens navigate friendship and more in smart, warm indie drama

LITTLE MEN (Ira Sachs). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (August 5). See listingRating: NNNN

Ira Sachs, director of Keep The Lights On and Love Is Strange, returns with another finely attuned study of New York life, this time looking at the fast friendship between two 13-year-olds: Brooklyn loudmouth Tony (Michael Barbieri) and more reserved Manhattan transplant Jake (Theo Taplitz), whose parents have inherited the building in which Tony’s mother has a dress shop.

Sachs casts a pretty wide net, using the two kids as a dramatic pivot for several other stories that unfold around them and complicate their relationship. 

The young stars are terrific, but really the whole cast is great Greg Kinnear as Jake’s father and Paulina García as Tony’s mother are particular standouts, letting us see how their personal baggage makes a minor business conflict into an irreconcilable war of wills.

The movie’s stakes are small, but don’t let that fool you. This is a nuanced, thoughtful drama about people figuring out who they are. They’re just, you know, little.

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