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July 24, 2010

Big

by Franz Patrick


Big (1988)
★★★★ / ★★★★

When twelve-year-old Josh (David Moscow) wished on a strange fortunetelling machine at a carnival that he wanted to be big, he woke up the next morning as a grown-up (Tom Hanks). With the help of his best friend (Jared Rushton), Josh moved to New York and ended up working for a toy company that really needed refreshment on what children really wanted and Josh fell in love with a much older woman (Elizabeth Perkins). In the meantime, his parents thought that he was kidnapped. I’ve seen a number of movies with pretty much the same premise so I must admit I wasn’t that excited to see the movie. But I decided to watch it anyway because I’ve heard great things about it and at the time I felt like watching something light and harmless. From the minute the movie started, it was consistently amusing, imaginative and touching without being too cheesy. The writing was confident and the combination with Hanks’ ability to embody a twelve-year-old’s innocence was very entertaining to watch. An absolute stand-out scene for me was when Hanks and his boss (Robert Loggia) who was a kid-at-heart played a giant piano in a children’s store. There was something so pure yet subtle about it and I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear throughout the performance. I also loved the fact that “Big,” being a children’s movie, proved that it could entertain kids as well as adults without having to result to slapstick humor. It was above trying to disgust audiences with bodily functions and I admired it for that. Instead, it took advantage of mistaken identities and fantastic elements to tell a story that commented on physically growing up not necessarily equating to maturity both intellectually or emotionally. It was sometimes character-driven but it was done in a fun way so that you never really notice it. I also enjoyed the picture that much more because I promised myself when I was in high school that I would try my hardest not to loose my childlike tendencies as I reached adulthood. I saw parts of myself in Hanks’ character as he worked in and around the company, more specifically how his enthusiasm inspired others to think outside the box and love what they do more. “Big,” directed by Penny Marshall, was ultimately a film for both children and adults that was intelligent, creative and highly enjoyable. It may have been released in the late ’80s but I haven’t yet seen a recent movie with essentially the same premise that was quite as strong.

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