29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A Haunting and Gripping Tale,
This review is from: 12 and Holding (DVD)
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.