Big question: The lives of three 12 year olds -- Jacob (Conor Donovan), Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum) and Leonard (Jesse Camacho) -- are rocked by the accidental death of Jacob's twin brother. These kids were already dealing with a disfiguring birthmark, an absentee father and a weight problem, respectively; what happened to the idea that childhood is fun?
Catch it: At first it seems difficult emotions might be beyond these young actors; not only do they dispel that notion, but the beautiful, painful and even violent truth of "Twelve and Holding" is that self-conscious pre-teens are capable of much more than we may initially think. And neither kids, nor their families, ever really know how to handle it.
Skip it: If you don't want to see Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' For You" performed by a pubescent guitarist and flautist. (How can you pass that up?)
Bottom line: This is the world as 12-year-olds see it, looking through a small but unrefined hole into adulthood, trying to be somebody else before they really know who they are. "Twelve and Holding" is a sensitive and moving account of the wounds inflicted by birth, by parents and by accident, and the mistakes and small victories that help us move on.
Bonus: Finding out that losing your sense of taste and smell isn't such a bad thing. It's easy to stick to a diet when apples and chocolate taste exactly the same!
'Twelve and Holding'
Directed by Michael Cuesta; screenplay by Anthony Cipriano; photographed by Romeo Tirone; edited by Eric Carlson and Kane Platt; music by Pierre Foldes; production design by Lucio Seixas; produced by Brian Bell, Cuesta, Leslie Urdang and Jenny Schweitzer. An IFC Films release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:34. MPAA rating: R (for language, violence and sexuality).
Jacob/Rudy Conor Donovan
Malee Zoe Weizenbaum
Leonard Fisher Jesse Camacho
Jim Carges Linus RoacheCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times