Richard Linklater has the knack for painting vivid and honest portraits of his cinematic subjects. Whether it’s a couple of strangers who fall in love while spending time abroad or a young boy growing up in a scary world, it is a nice place for an audience to visit. With his latest, the filmmaker takes on something a bit more tragic, yet it still offers up a nuanced character study with heart and compassion. It features an incredible cast, one that includes Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston. Even more importantly, it examines this serious subject in an effectively small and intimate way. Based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan, this is a surprising and heartfelt story that never feels forced and disingenuous.