12 and Holding is a powerful, engaging film that presents a more honest look at childhood than anything I’ve seen for years. It’s about a small group of young kids, each of them dealing with some difficult issues that arise from things happening at home (or not happening at home). There’s a fat kid trying to lose weight, a lonely girl looking for a father figure, and another guy dealing with a death in the family (which could be Stand By Me but with none of the soft focus nostalgia).
It’s difficult not to immediately care about these kids because their reactions are so genuine. Except for maybe one small detail, everything that happens seems plausible, which only heightens the drama as all the stories come together in the end. Parents should watch 12 and Holding as a realistic reminder that, yeah, sometimes childhood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.