Thursday, July 21, 2016
52 Films By Women: Big (1988)
Big follows the story of a boy named Josh (David Moscow) who, after being told he's too short to go on a ride, makes a wish at a fortune teller machine that he was taller. But the following morning, he gets an even bigger problem when he wakes up as an older man (Tom Hanks) and he must try to find the same machine where his wish was granted to be young again.
First off, the film's brightest spot is Tom Hanks as older Josh. He perfectly captures the role of his inner child in an adult's body. Hanks manages to find a balance between both childlike wonder and sometimes melancholic weariness of the adult world.
Next is the direction by Penny Marshall. What Marshall manages to do is take the film's fantasy elements and ground them into reality. Even though there aren't any visual effects shown on screen, you can still get a sense of the fantasy-driven storyline thanks to the plot.
Also, much like the similarly plotted 13 Going On 30, I felt that the film manages to successfully convey the message of not growing up too fast and enjoying life while you're young. But another message that this film conveys that 13 Going On 30 didn't is that even when you grow old, it doesn't mean you have to always grow up. That message is thanks in large part to Hanks' performance since while his character deals with the responsibilities of being an actual adult, he'll still frolic on a trampoline like he's his 13-year old self or dance on a big toy piano with his boss.
Overall, Big is a fantastical gem mixed with profound realism and successfully anchored by Tom Hanks' performance. It certainly has the right title as it is packed with big laughs and heart.