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The friendship of two boys gets threatened by the bickering of their parents over an increase in rent.
Review (with Spoilers)
I don’t necessarily know what I was expecting. Two boys nearly being torn apart by their parents. In this world we live in, it is hard to know whether that is a setup for a relationship of a platonic or romantic nature. This is especially true after movies like Moonlight and Departure which lead one quiet kid finding an extrovert and falling for him. But whether or not the same can be said for Tony and Jake, well, look below.
Characters & Story
Jacob (Theo Taplitz)
After his grandfather dies, Jake finds himself moving into his old house. Beneath them is a shop Leanor (Paulina Garcia) works in. For a long time, she was Jacob’s grandpa’s main friend and confidant. So when Jacob’s father Brian (Greg Kinnear) speaks on raising her rent and more, there is a sense of betrayal and audacity.
Tony (Michael Barbieri)
But what especially makes things difficult is Jacob has become close with Leanor’s son Tony. Perhaps one of the few boys to every really take to Jake, and perhaps one of the few people to pursue his friendship. The two boys dream of attending LaGuadia High school, famous for its music and arts programs. Tony wishes to be an actor and Jake an artist. But will either one’s dream come true? Much less, with how much their parents are pushing them apart, and Brian is threatening Leanor’s livelihood, will they even get to stay together through high school?
The Beauty of Friendship
While there is this weird vibe coming from Jake, it is hard to know whether he just appreciates Tony’s friendship or there is the ever slightest bit of feelings there. But, even with that said, at the film’s heart is was just about whether this friendship could survive the drama of the parents. So once you consider how lonely Jake’s life seems, and how Tony not only pursues Jake’s friendship but defends him against people calling him names, much less seems to be OK with Jake maybe being curious, bi, gay or whatever, the film becomes so beautiful to watch. To the point, you hope that the film follows these two throughout their lifetimes.
So, Leanor was friends with Brian’s dad and she thinks this is good enough reason for her $1100 per month rent to not be raised to $3300? That is pretty much her repeated argument. “Your father” wouldn’t want this. Not how she maybe a single mother, not that this shop was her dream and Brian is ending it, or any real reason to take her side. Then, on Brian’s half, again it is simply about money. It isn’t about him wanting to really, perhaps finally, be able to consistently contribute to his household after his wife footing the bill. It isn’t about his sister perhaps having money issues, or anything which may push you toward his side. No, it all boils down to Leanor thinking her playing some sort of nurse or friend to Brian’s dad has entitled her to low monthly rent and Brian’s counter is he and his sis need money.
On The Fence
The problem could be Taplitz had more experience or that Barbieri was trying to hone his charm. Either way, there were the occasional cringe worthy moments. Mostly when it came to possibly hinting Jake may have been queer and discovering this through the closeness of his relationship with Tony.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
The issue here is that the drama which is supposed to test the boy’s friendship isn’t that developed. Leonor skirts around what she and Brian’s dad may or may not have had and the pettiness is focused on more than how both parties need that money. Leonar needs it for the story Tony may have been told about his dad may very well be a lie. As for Brian, it is to contribute to the household, perhaps redeem himself in some way, much less his sister could have had some sort of issue too. But, instead, things are kept rather surface level and the most interesting thing about this film is whether or not Jake is queer and we are seeing the early stages of him discovering so.