Junior is a 9-10ish yr-old boy who lives with his mom Marta and baby brother in a tenement building inhabited by the working poor. Marta is her own worst enemy, not being able to hold onto steady employment, and we soon see her losing her cleaning job at a rich woman's house when Junior is caught in the lady's jacuzzi when he was supposed to be cleaning it on a day when he's tagged along with her to work.
Desperate, she goes to great lengths to get her old security guard job back. Marta is a pretty hot woman, but she's been hardened by her circumstances, and takes things out on Junior, who is an easy target because he's not like most boys.
Junior is obsessed with straightening his hair. He dances "funny". He holds long stares at the older teen boy who runs the little convenience stand outside their building. Why does he like that boy? "He has amazing eyes!". Not the right answer for mom, who feels responsible for the idea that her son is going down the gay path.
The movie observes their relationship with perception and sensitivity, with one honest scene building upon another. And those two lead performances are excellent. You never catch them acting, particularly by Samuel Lange as Junior, who has a very difficult task of suggesting things about gender and sexuality but in a way that a 10 yr-old doesn't quite understand yet.
This is a first-rate coming-of-age story, directed with assurance, with two performances that have stayed with me all week. Wonderful film. Should make it to the art-house circuit by next spring.