Twelve and Holding (15)
Friday 10 November 2006
Just when you think you've had it up to here with dysfunctional America, Michael Cuesta's film offers a stunning corrective. It examines the way three 12-year-old children learn harsh lessons of life too early. Malee (Zoë Weizenbaum) precociously imagines herself to be in love with a local construction worker (Jeremy Renner, superb); Leonard (Jesse Camacho) is a fattie determined to change the family diet; Jacob (Conor Donovan) is traumatised by the death of his twin brother, whom he secretly believes was the favourite of his parents.
The screenplay, by Anthony S Cipriano, is brilliantly poised between comedy and heart-wrenching distress, and from an apparently modest base it covers an astonishing amount of ground - it's not just that the movie deals so honestly and painfully with bereavement, obesity, inchoate sexuality, revenge and the implacable fact of death, it's that no single element of it is less compelling than another.
Had such material been taken on by a Todd Solondz or a Todd Field (this is the kind of film one hoped Little Children might have been), a knowingness and self-congratulation would have infected the tone. Michael Cuesta keeps it rigorously nonjudgmental yet manages to invest almost every scene with passionate feeling, not least because the performances are so truthful - watch out for Weizenbaum in particular, a star being born. This is even better than his first film, L.I.E., which is saying something.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Shia LaBeouf's Nymphomaniac sex scene removed from YouTube
Paul Walker: Fast and Furious cast release video tribute to late star
Morgan Freeman portrait: The world's most realistic finger painting?
Nymphomaniac trailer shown to children at screening of Disney film Frozen
- 1 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 2 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 3 Scientists sequence oldest human DNA from fossilised leg bone found in Spain
- 4 Cannabis can cause man boobs, US surgeon claims
- 5 Joanna Lumley’s garden bridge over the Thames gets £30m seal of approval from Government