By Joanna Langfield

A slim movie with a big heart, this immigrant coming of age story hits some very right notes.

Ben Sharrock’s second feature, tonally, reminded me of one of my favorites, the great Local Hero. Both set in the Scottish Netherlands, each film carries a gentle humor and almost quiet pacing. This one, however, revolves around people who have much more at stake. These are refugees, men thought by the locals to be in need of social education. Because, of course, they must be violent, desperate and, well, let’s face it, probably a little stupid.

Sharrock allows each of the four men housed together as they await their official papers time to reveal their story. And each is effecting and very sad. But the focus is on one, a Syrian refugee having troubles not just adjusting to his new life, but grappling with what he chose to leave behind. Omar, nicely played by Amir El-Masry, is somewhat unwillingly mentored by Farhad, an Afghani who’s seen the postman come to their mailbox too many times, without the letter he so desperately needs. Vikash Bhai is really terrific as the mysteriously calm Farhad, a generous soul whose offer of friendship may or may not be what Omar needs.

While the film does sag in its second half, it’s almost impossible to not be moved by the intention and execution here. The shifts from charming comedy to seriously drawn drama feel abrupt and are, at times, a bit jarring, but overall, Limbo modestly makes its mark.