Big (1988)


Not only are you getting two guest reviews for Big, but one is written by a kid! Let us introduce 11 year old Lucy, daughter of previous contributor Alex.Lucy
My favourite part was when Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia were playing the big piano and how they knew it perfectly and were in sync. I think that some parts dragged on and I wanted to fast forward it. Some funny parts were when he was acting childish and was checking out Elizabeth Perkins butt. Also when Tom Hanks tries to put on small pants after he has grown up. Another part that got me laughing when they were playing sport and John Heard and Tom Hanks were fighting over the ball.

 I think I would like to be a kid and not grow up till I have to…… and have a trampoline in my apartment! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Rating: (Lucy didn’t leave one, but I’m guessing 5 smiley faces = A)

I have such good memories of this film, I was hoping that it hadn’t dated or lost its appeal – it hasn’t, it was still great. I found the 80’s fashion, toys and technology a little distracting as I reminisced and wondered at how things have changed. This film came out the year of my Year 12 formal, so I remember dresses like Susan wore at the office party as being so dressy and stylish, now I just can’t believe that she has a big bow at the back.

I love that this movie is not an action movie, the romance is understated, there are no impossibly beautiful actors pretending to be normal people – it’s just a well-acted modern fairy story. I don’t think there are many blockbuster movies like this anymore, we seem to need more colour, movement, sex and superhuman feats. Tom Hanks perfecting the physicality and emotions of a child in an adult’s body is a pleasure to watch. There is clever analysis of adult life and relationships – one of my favourite lines is Susan telling her boyfriend she prefers Josh because “he is a grown up”.

Rating: A

This movie was my first introduction to Tom Hanks as a kid. And really, it’s probably the best entry into his career. As much as I love him in heavier dramas, I think he’s best in comedies like Big. He’s just so darn cute and charming, it’s no wonder the entire planet loves him. (Just look at that movie poster!)

Big may be a fantasy, but it deals with very real issues of growing up. Josh Baskin is a typical 12 year old boy. He’s starting to notice girls, but they’re not noticing him. After being embarrassed in front of his crush and her 16 year old crush at a carnival (he’s too short to ride a ride), he finds a creepy fortune telling machine and makes  a simple wish: to be big. Josh wakes up the next morning to discover he is in fact bigger, just not in the way he had hoped. Instead of being taller, he is now a 30 year old man. “Adult” Josh, played by Hanks, is now faced with the challenge of blending into the grown up world when mentally he is still a kid.

This is a great movie, because it’s one that’s grown with me, taking on new meaning during different phases of my life. As a kid I was made fun of for being short, just like Josh. I knew that all my problems would be solved if only I could find a Zoltar machine and wish to be taller (obviously I wouldn’t be making the same mistake as the kid in this movie). I learned soon enough that being taller wouldn’t really solve anything. I’d still be made fun of for other reasons. The best I could do was just be myself, and find friends who liked me for who I was.

As a young adult I honed in on the “kids want to grow up too fast” angle. From the beginning of my freshman year of high school all I could think about was moving away for college. I couldn’t wait to get away from home, and be on my own– no parents, no rules. But when I did move out things were not exactly what I expected. Suddenly I was responsible for things my parents had always taken care of: buying groceries, cooking meals, making sure I wasn’t late to class or work, paying the bills on time. It was then that I began to appreciate how easy I had it as a kid. Growing up was necessary, but I was happy to slow down a bit when I could.

Now that I’m older I relate to this movie because I often feel like a kid masquerading as an adult. I guess I’m a grown up… I mean, I have a full time job and a husband and a house. That’s what makes you an adult, right? Some days it feels like it does, but other times I’m not so sure. But maybe that’s everyone’s big secret: we’re all just kids in adult bodies, faking it and hoping that no one else will notice.

Rating: A

It’s hard to remember there was a time when Tom Hanks was known as a comedic actor. In the 90s he became one of the best dramatic actors around in films like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Saving Private Ryan, but before that he was known for more lighthearted entertainment like this fun film about growing up. Hanks stars as Josh Baskin, a 12 year old who wishes he was big and wakes up the next morning as a 30 year old Tom Hanks. While he and his best friend search for a way to reverse his wish, Josh gets a job at a toy store and quickly gets promoted because he knows kids better than anyone. He impresses his colleagues, particularly the store owner MacMillan (Robert Loggia). He also attracts the attention of an office hottie (Elizabeth Perkins), who is fascinated by Josh’s childlike personality.

You can see early on that Hanks had talent, even when he was making this lighthearted film. It wouldn’t have worked if you didn’t believe Josh was really a 12 year old trapped in an adults body. Hanks pulls it off. He’s charming, but you see a mischievous side to him like all teenagers have. It’s really funny watching him interact with older women. He’s really awkward around them, just like any teenage boy would be. Hanks makes the movie by making you believe he’s a teenager trapped in a mans body.

This film is really funny. The plot is not very original. The story has been covered many times in similar movies like Vice Versa and 17 Again, but Hank’s performance makes it memorable. He has a childlike charm that those other similar films don’t have. This is a cute film that holds up today and can still be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Rating: B+

2 thoughts on “Big (1988)

  1. Pingback: Bring It On (2000) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  2. Pingback: Love & Sex (2000) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s