By Mark Bell | October 11, 2014

Does size determine measure? Apparently not, as one little man finally learns after many hard lessons.

Matthew Perkins’ The Little Tin Man tells the story of Herman, a sensitive, struggling actor. As if that isn’t hardship enough, Herman is a little person and, as such, has suffered the stares and abuses of ignorant people for most of his thirty-two years of life. In order to make ends meet between auditions, Herman works at the restaurant his 6’5″, gay brother Gregg inherited from their recently deceased mother. Life could be much better for Herman, whose type-cast-auditions are always for Santa’s elves, slapstick-dwarves, and the like.

Herman’s restaurant-life is no better, as he meanders through the stares and wisecracks of customers and many of the restaurant staff. Herman could get along better with his brother, too. Gregg is a kindly man who always sticks up for Herman, but Herman just can’t forgive Gregg for being happy, and making what he perceives as a mockery of their mother’s funeral. Then there’s the fact that Gregg inherited his mother’s thriving business, while Herman received a few words of advice. Still, Herman is kind of blessed to have two very good friends who both work at the restaurant: a beautiful woman and fellow aspiring actor, named Miller, and Juan, a compassionate man and movie-buff, whose English could be better.

While The Little Tin Man could certainly be taken at face value, as the romantic comedy it certainly is, the film is so much more than that. For one thing, The Little Tin Man is intelligent on every level. It shows every aspect of the human condition and then offers— without moral preaching— several interpretations, all upbeat and just.

Not only is Dugan Bridges and Matthew Perkins’ script brilliantly astute, but the sensitivity, realism and timing of each and every actor is astonishing. In fact, the trials and tribulations of Herman, his friends and associates are so heartfelt and real that viewers will question whether The Little Tin Man is not a documentary.

There’s nothing little about Herman, nor does Perkins’ film come up short in any way. With all the turmoil going on in the world today, The Little Tin Man will make you see how important the seemingly inconsequential things in life really are.

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