Thanks to the film Little Boy, I now have some serious dehydration issues. I cried so many tears, both happy and sad, during this film that I either need an IV or a gallon of Gatorade. Little Boy Is a deeply moving film and a wonderful reminder to have faith the size of a mustard seed. With a star-studded cast, an intriguing storyline, and extraordinarily beautiful visuals; I would be crazy not to recommend it as a must-see film.
Little Boy is the story of 8-year-old Pepper Busbee (Jakob Salvati), a boy struggling with the news of his father going to war in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. To make matters worse, Pepper also has to contend with a town full of bullies and a family that is falling apart. However, with a little guidance from his priest (Tom Wilkinson), Pepper will learn that he can do big things with a little faith and a lot of love. Little Boy also stars Ted Levine (Monk, The Silence of the Lambs), Michael Rapaport (Atypical, The 6th Day), Kevin James (King of Queens, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), Emily Watson (Genius, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, How I Met Your Mother), and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat, Planet of the Apes).
After reading the list of stars, I’m sure it won’t surprise you that the acting in this film is amazing! I was especially blown away with Jakob Salvati, who played Pepper Busbee. For being so young, he gave a very grown-up performance that brought me to tears. David Henrie also gave a surprisingly mature performance that showed his true range as an actor and was a far cry from his role on Wizards of Waverly Place.
As for the script, it was truly beautiful. My favorite scene was early in the film when Pepper talks to his priest about using faith to literally move mountains…and bottles. Instead of telling the young boy that he can’t do it, he shows him how God can. It was a demonstration that gave me a new perspective on faith.
So the question is: If this film is so good, why did I only give it 4 out of 5 stars? The reason is that I’m evaluating it as a Christian film and not a secular one. The message of faith ran throughout the film, but I don’t recall the name “Jesus” ever being said. Also, although I like the ending, the last line about faith was a bit too open-ended for my taste. Lastly, there was a scene in which Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) told Pepper a Japanese story to inspire him. It was essentially the story of David and Goliath, but replaced by Japanese warriors. Obviously, I would have preferred that the Bible was referenced instead of ancient Japanese folklore. In conclusion, although this is a Christian film, I felt it walked the line a bit too often.
With that said, it is an excellent movie that really pulls at the heart strings. The best part? It’s available on Netflix! So break out those tissue boxes and popcorn and watch Little Boy. You’ll thank me later!
WHAT AGE IS IT FOR?
Little Boy is rated PG-13 and I would agree with that rating. I feel the preferred age range would be 15 and up. This is because there is footage of war, drinking, death, and hate crimes. It isn’t and inappropriate film, but it does cover some mature subject matter.
LOOKING TO SHOW IT AT CHURCH?
If I was to show Little Boy at church, it would be an adult movie night. With some of the mature subject matter, I wouldn’t suggest risking a younger audience.
Another possibility would be to show a few clips as a sermon or Bible Study reference if you were covering the topic of faith. The earlier mentioned scene of Pepper talking with the Priest would be ideal. I could easily see it leading to some healthy discussions.