02 August 2011

Big (starring Tom Hanks)

"Big" is the story of Josh, a twelve-year-old boy who is frustrated at being short, and really wishes he were bigger. At a fairground he makes the wish in a heartfelt way without expecting anything to happen... but the following morning, he discovers that his wish has been granted. Just not quite in the way he had hoped.

Josh is still twelve on the inside, but his body looks like that of an adult in his 20s. His mother, unsurprisingly, is terrified to find a young man in her house - more so when she cannot find Josh himself as a boy. His best friend Billy is suspicious and rather dubious at first, but is eventually persuaded that the unthinkable has indeed happened. And while Josh is pretty frightened, Billy can see some possible advantages to hanging out with someone who looks like an adult.

Before long Josh finds himself in the city, landing an unlikely job and an even more unlikely girlfriend. The film becomes gradually more surreal, but does so cleverly so that it never seems to get silly. Tom Hanks is brilliant in the title role; he manages to remain child-like and naive without being irritating. He explores adult issues with a believable innocence and (sometimes) delight.

There’s a wonderful, iconic scene in a shop with giant-sized piano keyboards - the film is worth seeing for that alone. 'Big" was made in 1988, and thus does look a little dated in places. Billed as a comedy, we found it mildly amusing rather than hilarious, with one or two places that made us chuckle. However, we thought it very enjoyable for a light evening's viewing.

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