The 50 best films of 2016 in the US: No 8 Little Man

Ira Sachss Little Men is a beautifully acted generational drama, a coming of age, boys own narrative of lost relationship and a pessimistic satire about gentrification all composed with scrupulous observational care. Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle play Brian and Kathy, a decent if somewhat self-pitying guy and his wife. Brian is an actor whose career is dying, and when he inherits a property in Brooklyn from his late father there is a chance for some real financial stability. He realises he is within his rights to hike the rent being charged to the woman who has a dress shop in the downstairs apartment. But the exquisitely painful problem quite aside from their liberal middle-class shame at needing or wanting to do this is that the womans son has befriended their son, and saved him from loneliness. Brian and Kathy actually owe this woman a lot. But Brian also owes something to his sister, who has her own fund worries, and they overwhelmingly was of the view that they owe themselves a fair bit as well. It is an agonising anatomy of divided loyalties, constructed much more poignant and real by the lovely performances of Michael Barbieri and Theo Taplitz as the two adolescents whose relationship continues alongside, or above, the adults undignified wrangling over fund. There is something quietly and intimately tragic about how this relationship pans out, and their final scene together is haunting. The 50 best films of 2016 in the US

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