Twelve And Holding review

A kiddie prank sparks a deadly chain of events in this tween-age indie drama about three New Jersey 12-year-olds. Jacob (Conor Donovan) is mourning the death of his twin brother, killed in the opening minutes when bullies torch his tree house hideaway. Lardy buddy Leonard (Jesse Camacho) is trying to convince his elephantine mom to lose some weight (even if it means kidnapping her) and precocious little Malee (Zoë Weizenbaum) is smitten with a burnt-out fireman (Jeremy Renner). Cross-cutting between these kids as they try to negotiate the complexities of the adult world, director Michael Cuesta can’t avoid indie pigeonholing. It’s all a bit Mean Creak, but it’s saved by some brilliant thesping from the young leads. Weizenbaum in particular is the standout performance, her painfully awkward attempts to seduce a grown man both icky and touching.

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