Little Men is a small film with a simple story. Two adolescent boys Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barbieri) become best buds when Jake’s grandfather dies and his family moves into his Brooklyn apartment. Tony’s mother Leonor (Paulina Garcia, Gloria) runs a shop downstairs in the building, but when Jake’s father Brian (Greg Kinnear) and his sister Audrey decide to raise her rent, the ensuing arguments between the parents threaten the boys’ relationship.
Jake is an arty kid who never made a lot of friends when they lived in Manhattan. But streetwise Tony takes to him immediately. They’re both aiming to go to school the next year at LaGuardia, New York’s premier art high school, Jake as a visual artist and Tony as an actor. And they both have parents who don’t take their dreams very seriously. But once the rent increase is proposed to Leonor (and rejected since she can’t possibly afford it) and their families are at odds, the boys realize that this special friendship they so enjoy may come to an end. So in protest they both stop talking to their parents, hoping to get them to come to their senses. Leonor hadn’t had a rent increase in years, because she was very close friends with the grandfather, and thinks that should count for something. But gentrification has made the real estate worth so much more than she’s paying. And Brian is a struggling actor, with a sister who wants to benefit from her inheritance.
The ending is not your typical Hollywood happy wrap up. It’s like real life, not really settled but moving forward nonetheless. If you’re looking for an indie slice of life flick with a good cast, especially the kids (look for them in the future), with no super heroes, this is your movie.