Young actors steal scenes in glorious New York ‘coming of age’ flick, co-starring Molly Ringwald as put-upon, fed-up, loving Mom….
How it’s New York: Set in New York City.
How it’s Irish: Irish American actor Brian d’Arcy James co-stars.
It’s said that to succeed in the arts, one must refrain from working with children or animals. It’s fortunate then, for the likes of acclaimed actors; Molly Ringwald, Brian d’Arcy James and Jemima Kirke, that there were none of our furrier, scalier, or indeed, fishier, companions featured in ‘All These Small Moments’, for the teens portraying some of the major roles, shamelessly grabbed and held on to, most of the scenes they featured in.
Ringwald is at this stage of her career, a veteran actor, who may well be a tad tired of seeing references to her earlier incarnation as a teen star. It is over three decades since she portrayed several variations of quintessentially American high-schoolers in teen classics such as ‘Pretty in Pink’, ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’. Fast forward from that more innocent, arguably at least, era, to today, and she’s equally convincing as Carla Sheffield, the put-upon wife of a seemingly ne’er-do-well sad sack husband Tom (played by James) and her two sensitive, smart aleck sons, Howie and Simon (played incredibly by Brendan Mayer and Sam McCarthy, who seemingly studied ‘The Encyclopedia for Teens Who Know Too Much’ after winning the roles).
Howie, the older boy, has had a difficult year. Having broken his arm, he’s watched his parents sad slide into relationship meltdown territory, while, seemingly attempting to dissuade the sweet but tortured soul Lindsay (Harley Quinn Smith) from her obvious infatuation with him, and also dealing with his own feelings for the older woman, Odessa (Jemima Kirke), whom he continues to watch from afar, or at least, several bus-seats away, on a regular basis. He also has to deal with the confusion experienced by his kid brother Simon, a grown-up child in a world of immature adults, whose views on life and those who have wronged his, and everyone else’s, are worth hearing again and again.
‘All These Small Moments’ was written and directed by Melissa Miller Costanzo, in what is an extraordinary first-time effort. It’s a film where you’ll find yourself silently rooting for the characters, in particular the excellent younger actors (Quinn Smith and Meyer especially), hoping that they rise above their personal demons, while perhaps feeling a little relief, that you yourself have (hopefully) not hit the embarrassing slides into unwanted realities that others have experienced, we’re looking at you, Carla’s husband Tom. It just proves once more, that a good New York movie does not have to feature a traumatized, gun-wielding driver of taxis, who talks to himself in the mirror, or indeed a middle aged man, infatuated with a teenage girl, or a hustler who hangs out with a sleazy dude named Ratso. New York’s been a wonderful character in many a great movie, and here’s another one.