Ira Sachs’ low-key observational dramas are easy to look past, but he finds rich emotional material in this tale of two young teens—Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barbieri)—who become friends when Jake’s parents (Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle) move into the apartment inherited from Jake’s late grandfather above the Brooklyn dress shop run by Tony’s mother (Paulina García). It’s not easy at first to connect the story of gentrification (Jake’s parents want to raise the rent on the store) with the boys’ friendship, especially as Sachs nails charming moments in their activities, including a youth dance where Tony risks approaching a girl he likes. But the filmmaker is bold in his willingness to make characters prickly and even unlikeable, and to explore what can happen to a friendship as kids learn, in Jake’s father’s words, that “your parents are people, too.” Even as Sachs seems only to tease around the edges with more overtly dramatic ideas, like Jake’s possible crush on Tony, he crafts a quiet, lovely movie willing to trust the specificity of time, place and character.
Director: Ira Sachs
Producer: Lucas Joaquin, Ira Sachs, Christos Konstantakopoulos, Jim Lande and L.A. Teodosio
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina García, Michael Barbieri, Theo Taplitz, Talia Balsam, Maliq Johnson, Anthony Flamminio, Mauricio Bustamante and Alfred Molina