Shocking and intricate pre-teen coming of age tale where adolescence and adulthood collide, exploring the complexities of children losing their innocence and adults struggling to guide them. Sparked by the tragic death of ... more »Jacob's twin brother, a trio of friends band together as they grapple with feelings of revenge, grief and experiences of growing up. As each family's personal challenges are revealed, they learn to better understand each other and their own realities.« less
"This is generally not a family movie about adolescence. Although it is tame in comparison to other thought provoking adolescent movies. The movies has many characters of varying ages. Most of the acting is very good and the parts played seem very realistic. You aren't going to be thrown on a ride of precoscious drug and alcohol abuse with sexual expermentation. This movie plays a realistic role of what many preteens experience on a daily basis. The constant battle to be known and wanted. Self awareness seems to be a very important stage of these young characters lives and getting to know them makes this movie all that better. One character works to battle his being overweight while another becomes aware of her sexuality and uses it to flirt. Although the main character has to battle demons that knowone would wish on a child that young. His twin brother was killed in a terrible event and he faces those demons by confronting the two who killed him. This movie is chilling at points and can make you feel good at others. Just when you think it's going in one direction it throws you for a curve and puts you somewhere else. I think if you watch this movie you will be plestantly surprised...I was."
Band of Brothers
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 06/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rudy and Jacob Carges are twins and almost exact opposites: Rudy is brash, always willing to fight, good at sports and dedicated to his weaker, port-wine stained on the face brother, Jacob. The twins also have two good friends Malee Chaung (Zoe Weizenbaum): an in your face, smart as a whip, flute player and Leonard Fisher (Jesse Camacho): a way overweight kid who wouldn't think of camping out without a huge bag of pretzels and licorice. They are all 12 years old...hence the title but none of the four are in any way in a holding pattern. In fact they are all straining at the bit of pre-adolescence, dying to be teenagers, have romances and do whatever it is that they want. As in Director Michael Cuesta' previous film, "L.I.E.," these kids are mature beyond their years, conflicted and mostly very lonely. Added to this pre-adolescence mix are a couple of adults: Annabella Sciorra as Malee's mother who is as lost if not more so than Malee and a sensitive, devastated, psychologically suffering Gus beautifully portrayed by Jeremy Renner ("Dahmer"). It is particularly heartening to see Renner playing someone other than a weirdo and nailing it. Cuesta is after a lot more here then even in his richly textured "L.I.E." In "Twelve and Holding," he wants to expose the dynamics, troubles, slice open and expose the social and psychological machinations of the modern American family: and he pretty much succeeds on all fronts. "
A Haunting and Gripping Tale
Timothy Kearney | Hull, MA United States | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To say that TWELVE AND HOLDING is a haunting film is an understatement. At the beginning we meet four twelve year olds: twins Jacob and Rudy Carges (both played by Conor Donovan), Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum) and Leonard (Jesse Comacho). We soon realize that the four are friends not so much because of what they share in common as much as the fact they are four people who have no one else. Jacob is disfigured and Rudy reluctantly comes to his rescue. His attempts to protect his brother, which may be due as much to pride as brotherly love angers some bullies who set his tree house ablaze not realizing he's in it. The remainder of the film focuses on the life the three remaining friends live after Rudy's death. Jacob becomes fixed on revenge and visits his brother's killers in prison without his parents' knowledge. His parents adopt a child as a replacement which is obvious to Jacob though not to the parents. Jesse becomes obsessed with losing weight because a coach feels sorry for him because he's the most overweight child he's ever seen. Malee falls in love with a construction worker who is a patient of her psychoanalyst mother. The film has a number of surprising plot twists which make it anything but predictable and we seem to get inside the world of some loners we all know exits but most of us never get to know.
There are many positive aspects of the film. The actors are convincing and the world created seems plausible. The story may seem too far fetched for some viewers, as some critics claimed when it was released and this would be true for most typical adolescents and even some who are not so typical, but we're talking about twelve year olds reacting to grief with no one to reach out to them. There are a few scenes that while interesting, don't quite connect to the larger story, but it is well paced, well acted, and certainly one that will remain with a viewer for a while. "
Good script, good acting, and unpredictable.
Drake-by-the-Lake | State of Euphoria | 10/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Destined to be a sleeper gem that will remain largely undiscovered by most folks due to the unpopular content: kids are portrayed not as innocent teddy bears, but as savvy, wise-beyond-their-years, young adults. This is a big, tough, serious drama, with tension and a big emotional punch that will connect. Brace yourself for a rocky ride.
It might have been more believable if the kids were all geniuses from a magnet school. Frankly I have never been acquainted with anyone quite as precocious and independent as the characters in this film. But maybe this is where the human race is headed in the future.
It offers a welcome respite from the same old saws being churned out by the movie industry. I prize originality, creativity and most of all, good writing, and this movie definitely has all that. Highly recommended."
An Intense, Riveting, Extraordinary Cinematic Achievement
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"12 AND HOLDING is one of those little Indie films that somehow slips through the cracks of public attention and only when it is released on DVD does it surface as brilliant star of a film. Powerfully and sensitively written by Anthony Cipriano and directed with unrelenting intensity and grace by Michael Cuesta, this is a film about youngsters on the brink of adulthood who respond to each other and to events in ways far beyond the scope of most mature adults.
Identical twins Rudy and Jacob Carges (Conor Donovan in both roles) differ in the fact that Jacob has a facial birthmark and feels second fiddle to his twin Rudy, a quick, tempered lad who eggs on bullies causing the maelstrom that is to follow. Their close friends are Malee Chuang (Zoe Weizenbaum), the daughter of psychologist Dr. Carla Chuang (Annabella Sciorra) who remains bruised by a failed marriage to an abusive husband, and grossly obese Leonard Fisher (Jesse Camacho) whose parents (Marcia DeBonis and Tom McGowan) are equally addicted to junk food. When Rudy challenges two ruffian classmates (Michael Fuchs and Martin Campetta), the trio's tree house is threatened and is burned as a gesture or revenge - but Rudy happened to be inside the tree house and was burned to death. His parents (Linus Roache and Jayne Atkinson) are devastated as is Jacob, now their only son and one who feels he should have been the twin that died. The family wants revenge and is infuriated when the two lads who caused the tragedy are given only one year of detention.
This event sets off changes in the three friends: Jacob visits the perpetrators in the detention home, unable to see that Rudy's death was an unplanned accident. He threatens the lads and one actually commits suicide in his cell. Jacob gradually becomes friends with the other lad when his security at home is threatened by is parent's adoption of a black son. This new camaraderie results in a plan that leads to a surprising end. In the meanwhile, Leonard's injury in the fire leads to his loss of taste and he sees his obesity, and that of his entire family, as disgusting and commits to changing his life, unable to even forcibly gain the same change from his parents - another surprising end. And Malee's desperate need for a father figure and her starting adolescence leads her to become enchanted by one of her mother's patients, construction worker Gus Maitland (Jeremy Renner in a superb performance) and she attempts to seduce the psychologically damaged Gus without success. The manner in which these three youngsters enter the adult world is more than challenging and the results of their response to entering 'maturity' and to the trauma of the death of Rudy is shattering.
Cuesta directs these fine actors - there is not a weak one in the cast - with surety and a degree of sense of spontaneity that is truly splendid. This is most assuredly an ensemble performance worthy of awards: it is also a series of star turns for Jeremy Renner, Annabella Sciorra, Conor Donovan, Zoe Weizenbaum and Jesse Camacho. This is independent filmmaking at its finest: the story is tough, the conclusions disturbing, and the quality of acting is astounding. First Class work. Grady Harp, January 07 "