Twelve and Holding

"Excellent"

Twelve and Holding Review


Being a kid is awkward and awful, but not in the stick-your-penis-in-a-pie way and certainly not the Peter Pan way. Situations that you can't even fathom happen ad nauseum from ages 11 to 19 on account of wild hormones. After that, the consensus would be to consult some sort of psychiatrist. Hollywood has somehow turned all these stories and occurrences into redemptive stories where every transgression is purely sexual and where things aren't fully blamed on anyone. Even if someone is blamed, the blame is nonchalant and patched up with a simple hug.Michael Cuesta announced himself in 2001 with the vicious and viciously underrated drama L.I.E., which offered a mind-blowing performance from Brian Cox as an aged pedophile and a young, strikingly good Paul Dano as the young poet who befriends him. If the film had any real flaw, it was that it was too stiff; things seemed to structured for a story that was so amorphous and daring.Cuesta now returns packing fire and ravaging humor with Twelve and Holding, an unyieldingly dark look at adolescence and neglect. It starts easy: four kids, all at age 12, sit and watch fireworks at a neighborhood block party. There's Rudy and Jacob (both played by amazing newcomer Conor Donovan), twin brothers to a pair of steady-as-she-goes parents. Their only physical distinguishing trait is a large, purple birthmark on Jacob's face. Then there's Leonard (Jesse Camacho), the terribly overweight offspring of two fat-and-loving-it parents (mom: Marcia Debonis, dad: Tom McGowan). Lastly, there's sweet Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum), who tries to make the most of a psychiatrist mother (Annabella Sciorra) and a no-show dad.Their lives get tossed when Rudy is accidentally burned alive during a prank. Suddenly, Leonard wants to lose weight, Malee gets the hots for one of her mom's patients (stunning Jeremy Renner) and Jacob begins to take out his rage over his brother's death by visiting the kid who's responsible in a juvenile detention center. None of their parents are interested or really take notice of this behavior. Leonard's mother (Debonis works miracles with a tough role) is downright opposed to her son's new found love for health; he refuses to eat any of her fried chicken and opts for apples and salad instead. Malee begins a friendship with the patient and begins to obsess about him and his favorite song, Blue Öyster Cult's "Burning for You," which is used in a terrific scene not unlike the way "Hey You" was used in last year's The Squid and the Whale. Jacob begins to befriend the prankster, but things take a major dark turn for all three.Twelve and Holding encapsulates everything one could hope for from a sophomore effort. Cuesta's style has become more defined and, with ample help from cinematographer Romeo Tirone, his imagery has become even more stirring and efficient. His work with actors has become a thing of beauty: all the child actors are fantastic and the supporting cast gives a resonant tone to the children's world. Cuesta, working from a remarkable script from first-timer Anthony Cipriano, makes sure to define the parents but makes them the ghostly apparitions that the kids see them as. When Leonard finally takes action with his mother, the way he deals with her is still in the way of forced neglect. Squirming in their seats and foreheads cringed, parents might find themselves rushing home from Cuesta's tarnished scrapbook of forgotten embarrassment to spend time with their tykes.


Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $95.7 thousand

Budget: $400 thousand

Production compaines: Serenade Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Brian Bell, , Jenny Schweitzer,

Starring: Zoe Weizenbaum as Malee Chuang, Conor Donovan as Jacob / Rudy Carges, Jesse Camacho as Leonard Fisher, as Gus Maitland, as Carla Chuang

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.