Twelve and Holding (2005) - Synopsis

Rudy and Jacob Carges are two twin boys who are best friends, yet completely different. Rudy is athletic, brave and charismatic while his twin Jacob is quiet, timid and deeply affected by the unsightly birthmark on his face. Malee, a precocious only-child of a single, emotionally detached mother, and Leonard, an overweight boy from an obese family, make up the twins’ close-knit group of friends. When Rudy dies protecting his tree house that the local trailer park boys, Jeff and Kenny, set on fire, Jacob, Malee and Leonard each deal with this tragic event in different ways. Malee, who thinks that she is mature enough to deal with her feelings on her own, becomes obsessively fascinated with one of her mother’s patients, GUS. Leonard, who was injured while helping Jacob in the tree house fire, loses his sense of taste and proceeds to adopt a strict diet and exercise regime, which he tries to force onto his family as well. Jacob, who feels that he let his brother down by not going with him that night to the tree house, must deal with his own guilt, anger and feelings of inadequacy and betrayal when his parents cannot deal with Rudy’s death and even adopt a new son. Spurred on by these feelings, Jacob, unbeknownst to anyone, vows to overcome his timidness and avenge his brother’s death by befriending the juvenile killers while they are still in prison. In the end, Jacob, Malee and Leonard’s coping strategies affect not only their own lives, but also their families’ lives as well. When Malee breaks into Gus’ house and confesses her feelings for him, she helps him deal with his haunting memories and forces her mother to open up and realize that she has not been the best parent to her young daughter. Although Leonard’s drastic plan to lock his mother in the basement so she will lose weight fails, his earnest attempts show her that she must change her lifestyle to save her life.