Little people are often overlooked in films. Sadly, those who are smaller are looked upon as inferior and unimportant. That is a highly ignorant point of view but that ignorance is combated in the latest quirky dramedy The Little Tin Man. It is a story about a man who is anything but inferior and the film raises awareness of little people and makes them as human as the next person. The film is sweet, touching, heartbreaking and downright funny.
Herman (Aaron Beelner) is a cynical actor living in New York. He has just turned 36 years-old and he still struggling to land that hit role. He has also just lost his mother and things seem rather bleak. There is something unique about this man however and that is that he is 4’3. He is a dwarf and that quality about him limits him from starring in roles that aren’t elves or leprechauns. His sleazy agent informs him that Martin Scorsese is remaking The Wizard of Oz and Herman is invited to audition for the Mayor of Munchkinland. Fed up with being typecast in “small” roles, Herman decides to film an audition tape of him as the Tin Man. With the help of his coworkers/friends, he goes on an adventure not down a yellow brick road but on a path of pride and self-confidence.
The Little Tin Man is one of the most genuine and subtly brilliant films in recent years. It is an independent dramedy, so it mimics real life beautifully, painting a vivid picture with its sincere script and highly capable cast. Beelner is genius in the lead role. He is an everyman who just happens to be a dwarf. His cynical and very realistic view of the world keeps him grounded and bitter at times but he has within him a playful spark that keeps things interesting with his motley crew of friends. Herman works in his brother Gregg’s (Jeff Hiller) restaurant and he has a cutesy platonic relationship with waitress Miller (Kay Cannon) and he often turns to film recommendations from cinephile cook Juan (Emmanuel Maldonado).
With a story that is both believable and at times, over the top ridiculous, The Little Tin Man is an honest dramedy that anyone can appreciate. The issue of dwarfism in society is addressed in a direct and straightforward way however it isn’t done in a preachy or aggressive manner. The entire film has an air of “it is what it is” and that attitude is not only original but extremely refreshing.
Being an indie film, the only way this movie will reach mass audiences is if a cult following develops first. One can only hope that The Little Tin Man will reach a status higher than late-night Netflix viewing. It is a simple premise with a powerful message. The acting is top notch and so is Matthew Perkins’ shaky cam direction. He wrote a beautiful and funny script with Dugan Bridges and their work has a strong Woody Allen/New York flavor. With all of these elements in place, The Little Tin Man is a work of art, a film that needs to be experienced whether you’re big or small.
The Little Tin Man will have a limited theatrical release on October 3rd, 2014