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Twelve and Holding (12 and Holding) (2006)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 77
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 21

This shocking pre-teen drama manages, through realistic performances and a sense of empathy, to avoid exploitation and instead deliver something honest and haunting.


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 10

This shocking pre-teen drama manages, through realistic performances and a sense of empathy, to avoid exploitation and instead deliver something honest and haunting.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 19,622

My Rating

Movie Info

A trio of troubled suburbanites attempts to come to grips with the personal issues that surface following the tragic death of one of their own in this introspective adolescent drama from L.I.E. screenwriter/director (Michael Cuesta). In the months following the death of Jacob's (Conor Donovan) likeable, athletic twin brother, Rudy (also Donovan), Jacob and friends Malee (Zoe Weizenbaum) and Leonard (Jesse Camacho) struggle to make sense of the unfortunate youth's fiery demise at the hands of



Oct 10, 2006

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March 2, 2006:
Dimension Wants to Make You "Shiver"
Director Michael Cuesta ("L.I.E.," "Twelve and Holding") has been tapped by...


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All Critics (81) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (21) | DVD (3)

... a film that never quite equals the sum of its many intriguing parts.

November 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film careens from crisis to crisis. Yet each time it threatens to spin out of control, [director Michael] Cuesta demonstrates a firm hand that keeps us leaning in with interest.

August 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Raw and unpredictable. It's also compelling.

June 16, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Flawed but compassionate study of kids struggling with grown-up issues without much adult supervison.

June 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The stories coexist without intersecting, and the film would benefit from a stronger narrative spine, but bringing together three such gifted young actors in a single film is a minor miracle.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cuesta entices extraordinary performances out of his young actors.

June 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most exceptional, down to Earth portrayals of childhood and adolescence in the face of tragedy I've ever seen...

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

...generally succeeds in spite of its various deficiencies.

July 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

[An] intelligent and edgy story that allows believable characters and their interpersonal dynamics to come alive as sinister undercurrents ripple below.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The kids help get the film past its messy, low-budget look, aided by a strong ensemble of familiar adult faces.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, but [director Michael] Cuesta finds wry humour in tragic situations while at the same time thickening the air with quiet foreboding.

November 14, 2006 Full Review Source:

One of the films of the year. Unmissable.

November 9, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

With his modestly impressive young actors and moody lens, Cuesta finds the normal in the extreme.

October 25, 2006 Full Review Source:

A refracted glimpse of American suburbia through the eyes of three pre-teens grappling with grief, reprisal and loneliness, the film boasts some great adolescent performances but can't overcome a rigidly partitioned structure and tonal inconsistency.

September 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Now Playing Magazine

A gripping drama examining the pains and frustrations--and also the hidden strengths--of youth.

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Though occasionally clumsy, it manages to accurately re-create the especial lonely pain of nascent pubescence, the shock of change and the feeling that no one has ever lived through the sort of emotional weather you're required to endure.

August 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The children are operating without a safety net or a script typed with kid gloves, and that makes it all the more easy to fear for and sympathize with them, even as the plot takes outlandish twists.

July 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

[Director Michael] Cuesta has found a terrific cast.

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Twelve isn't always easy to watch. But it feels emotionally authentic -- not exploitive, not farfetchedly quirky.

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The kids are very effective. Some laughs seem right, others catch in your throat. There is honest feeling, not sneering.

July 7, 2006 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

From the parents to the children, the cast is uniformly excellent. Weizenbaum and Renner deserve special mention for handling a potentially unsettling relationship with care.

July 7, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Twelve and Holding unfortunately breaks down by trying to wrap up its problems too neatly.

July 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A film that has a lot of good individual ingredients but no real idea of how to pull them all together into a satisfying whole.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source:

Cipriano and Cuesta push things too far, as the kids' behavior moves from merely obsessive to downright sociopathic.

June 23, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Twelve and Holding (12 and Holding)

Great Indie drama. Very heartfelt, feel good kind of movie.
October 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

Rudy: Our birthday comes once a year and you ask for a hockey mask. You don't even play. 

"Do You Know Who Your Kids Are?"

Twelve and Holding reminds me a lot of another Indie movie named George Washington. Both are great films about children's loss of innocence surrounding a death of their friend. In Twelve and Holding, we meet four friends. Two of which are twin brothers named Jacob and Rudy. The other two are Malee and Leonard. Some bullies of the four friends go to burn down their tree house, unaware that they are in it. Rudy dies, and the three other children are left, no longer really children, but not adults either.Twelve and Holding is a sad and hypnotic film. It's also extremely engrossing and compelling. The performances by all the young children are solid, and Jeremy Renner is as good here, as he's ever been. 

The movie isn't as hard to watch as you would think, and if I described some of the actions of the kids after the death of their friend, it would make you think it would be even harder to watch. The writer and director of Twelve and Holding make the movie a lot easier to watch. They don't go over the top in creating situations that are unrealistic or unwatchable. A few times I thought they were going to take it to far, but they restrained and made the movie all the better because of that restraint. 

Twelve and Holding probably isn't going to be a movie you fall in love with. The story is too devastating to make it a movie that you want to watch again and again. What it is though, is a good Indie drama about kids that are supposed to be kids, but can't. Situations in life dictate change, and for these kids that change came on earlier than it should have. 

I highly suggest giving Twelve and Holding a look. It's a relatively unknown work that deserves to be seen. It's a shame that movies like Twelve and Holding get pushed aside and aren't seen as frequently as movies that don't even deserve to be made. I've heard this compared to Stand By Me, and it's a fairly accurate comparison. I still think it's more like George Washington, but very few people have seen that one. 
July 8, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Quiet different and unique, at least compared to most of what I've seen in the past 5 years. If only the ending had been better than what it is, I might have given it 4.5 or even 5/5 as well. Having said that, I still find it highly commendable.
February 1, 2010

Super Reviewer

?Stand by me for the next generation? is how this film has been described and I would say that that is a pretty accurate statement. Quite an insight into the minds of these children who are of an age that is rarely interpreted in film and it kind of invades their view on their own lives and the role they play in their families.

A tragic beginning sets a number of events into motion, it?s an easy watching film, with some strong subject matters for the children to deal with.
April 5, 2009

Super Reviewer

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