“ Do You Know Who Your Kids Are?”, that is the tagline from the film 12 and Holding. Do you know about the film 12 And Holding?
12 and Holding was directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Anthony Cipriano. The three main leads are children: Conor Donovan, Jesse Camacho, and Zoe Weizenbaum. The adults that make up the supporting cast have a couple of faces that may be familiar to you, such as: Annabella Sciorra and Jeremy Renner. Essentially this movie is a coming-of-age story following three pre-teens in dramatic situations.
Normally I dislike child actors. They tend to come off as snooty and aren’t really all that talented, with some exceptions like Dakota Fanning. 12 and Holding features three kids that are magnificent in their roles. All of the acting for this film is moody and captivating.
The three children are friends with their own separate issues and yet common bonds. One boy suffers the loss of his twin brother when some other kids accidentally set him on fire in a tree house. The remaining twin has a birthmark on his face that makes him feel like an outcast, now he is the only son left in the family and must also cope with thoughts of revenge. The other boy in the film is dealing with being overweight and being an outcast from his family who are all overweight, when he tries to take control of his diet and exercise after surviving the tree house incident. The girl deals with issues of abandonment from her father, while dealing with falling in love with one of her psychiatrist mothers patients, an older man.
Michael Cuesta directed the movie L.I.E. which also explored some sensitive drama via the life of a child and even the romantic relationship between an older man and a boy. Critics may say he is re-treading the same subject matter in a round about way, but they cannot say he doesn’t do a good job at it. The romantic relationship or actually, wished for relationship, explored between the girl and the older man in 12 and Holding is a one sided affair that affirms character and strengthens the plot. There is nothing perverse about this movie, regardless of what it may sound like right off the bat from description.
The main character is ultimately the twin boy as played by Conor Donovan. His character comes full circle with the pains of loss, hate, and then forgiveness. However, the movie ends just as dark and just as deep as its opening. There is a small part of the final event that doesn’t seem plausible for a child to pull off, but it doesn’t steal away from the impact.
There shouldn’t be anything holding you back from finding a copy of 12and Holding to watch. It is a wonderful character exploration, coming of age tale, with excellent acting, and a dramatic atmosphere set to perfection.
“Our birthday comes once a year and you ask for a hockey mask. You don’t even play.”
“Jason from Friday the 13th wears one. He’s bad-ass. “
Drama fans: this film is bad-ass.