Jake (Theo Taplitz) is a quiet, sensitive middle schooler with dreams of being an artist. He meets the affably brash Tony (Michael Barbieri) at his grandfather's funeral, and the unlikely pair soon hit it off. The budding friendship is put at risk, however, when a rent dispute between Jake's father, Brian (Greg Kinnear), and Tony's mother, Leonor (Paulina Garcia), threatens to become contentious.
Little Men is a critical yet empathetic look at the dangers of gentrification. Ira Sachs, director of Love Is Strange and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize WinnerForty Shades of Blue, accentuates the natural vibrancy of Brooklyn and brings out the best in his actors. Taplitz and Barbieri have a natural rapport and earnestness that belies their young age. Kinnear and Garcia bring weight to their roles as the feuding parents, and Jennifer Ehle, Talia Balsam, and Alfred Molina round out the cast with wonderful supporting turns. It's a triumphant return to the Festival for Sachs, who has made a film that never lets its abundant kindness interfere with its honest portrayal of a rapidly changing neighborhood.