The terrific new Ira Sachs film Little Men is quiet, mostly, which is baked into its premise: Introverted 13-year-old Jake (Theo Taplitz) finally finds a friend in brash young actor Tony (Michael Barbieri), but the two boys stage a silent protest when their squabbling parents threaten to derail their relationship. Sachs (who recently directed Love Is Strange) is great at subtle, unforced observation, and with these expertly cast kids, he's got great muses. There's so much about Jake and Tony's friendship that goes unsaid simply because Sachs and his actors know how to convey it through other means. And then, in the middle of this quiet movie, Sachs drops this explosive, funny sequence where Tony engages in a repetition exercise in his acting class. It's hypnotic to watch Tony shout back at his teacher, and Barbieri's quick wit is on full display — it's no wonder that Hollywood has come calling, placing the young actor in the new Spider-Man movie. It's also a reminder of what will be missed when Tony goes mute, and a sign that maybe he's a lot better at listening than the adults in his life. Watch the exclusive clip below, and check out Little Men in theaters on August 5.
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