Director: Ben and Joshua Safdie
Writer: Ben and Joshua Safdie
Cast: Ronald Bronstein, Abel Ferrara, Sage Ranaldo and Frey Ranaldo
Release Date: 05/14/2010 (limited)

“Daddy Longlegs” tells the story of NY man-child Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) and the annual visit of his kids, Sage and Frey for two weeks. This is a precious time in his life and even though he’s working all hours as a film projectionist – a metaphor for his recollections and the stitched together feel of the movie – he works hard to create the memories, whether magical, outlandish or downright stupid, that will cement a bond that can never be broken.

Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) is young and childlike himself, thin, agile, athletic, but graying, terminally unconventional, a hipster, unstable, a film projectionist, a man whose life he has no firm grip on, but determined to love his kids and make his time with them as memorable as possible. When he picks up the boys, he immediately launches into dangerous play, walking on his hands across the street with them. Sage (Sage Ranaldo) and Frey (Frey Ranaldo) alternate between being delighted, excited, and scared to death by Lenny’s games.

He has a one-night stand, and then the next day forces himself, with the boys, on the woman and her boyfriend when the latter drives upstate for the weekend. The story otherwise takes place very much in a Manhattan whose wild grunginess and seemingly greater-then-normal tolerance for irresponsible behavior suggest the New York of the 1970’s. He takes the boys to play squash. He gets mugged by a peddler-thug (played by Abel Ferrara) coming home by himself with groceries and ice cream cones, but never mentions the incident to the boys or anyone. He has a date with an on-and-off girlfriend. With her around in the morning, he gives the boys a pet lizard he hides as a prize in a cereal box.

The film wants to be warm, but in that late 70s/early 80s way. The boys have to learn about their father, while learning that they can depend on themselves. Working within the constraints of a two week visitation, the room for growth is real and it’ll bring a smile to your face. Most of the country won’t get a chance to see this film until home video. When it eventually arrives, I’d recommend checking it out. The Safdie brothers have created a beautiful indie tale of what it means to be an adult and what it means to be a proud family.

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