Friendships when you are younger are a big deal. Writer-director Ira Sachs is very much clued into this reality with this beautiful little movie about a family moving to Brooklyn after a relative has left them a home.
Greg Kinnear, in his best role in years, plays Brian, an actor on the downside of his career, who moves with wife Kathy (Jennifer Ehle) and son Jake (Theo Tapiltz) to the new Brooklyn home, where Jake instantly befriends the charismatic Tony (Michael Barbieri). They go to the same school together, play video games, and aspire to become artists. Tony’s mom (Paulina Garcia) operates a business in the home Brian has inherited, and her rent is too low. When he tries to raise the rent, problems ensue and despite the best of intentions, relationships are affected. Everybody is terrific in this movie, especially Tapiltz and Barbieri, who come off as real kids. Kinnear, looking world-weary and just a little beat up, is a testament to how tough his chosen profession can be. Garcia has a few moments that are appropriately scary, while Ehle continues to be one of those actresses that quietly amazes.
Sachs is a director with amazing power of observation; his film is full of moments that are deeply moving and strike chords. This is one of the year’s more wonderful under-the-radar films.