Movie Review: Big

Tom Hanks stars in this 1988 classic depicting the adventures of a 13-year-old that wishes his way into his 30s. The movie focuses on simple, yet resounding childhood humor as well as the themes of “coming of age” and “loss of innocence.” Additionally, “Big” was made in the good ol’ days when one could drop an f-bomb in a PG movie.

The movie highlights the splendor of childhood, yet accents some of the drawbacks of being younger. Being held back by his height for a ride at a carnival is the last straw for young Josh Baskin, the movie’s protagonist. He resorts to making the wish to become a grown-up. The plot of the movie seems quite cheesy, but its reputation justifies the plot element of mystically wishing away one’s childhood via a magic carnival machine. What makes the movie truly unique is the genuine feelings implored, as well as the light-hearted fun that promotes the validity of the film’s themes.

Josh’s journey reflects the progression of childhood to adolescence; there is a long period of laughter and comedic brilliance, followed by a sudden change that makes everything different. The change is forever, and the ending of the film is more downtrodden in comparison to the carefree beginning. This is somewhat upsetting, because during the movie, the entertainment of childhood exploits will lift the viewer’s spirits, while the somewhat depressing ending will leave a bad taste in his or her mouth.

“Big” is worth re-watching for those who saw the film as a child and is definitely a must-see. As a child, one may have been hoping for Josh to stay grown up for good. However, with the pressures of being an adult, the wish of returning to childhood seems quite appealing. This makes the loss of innocence in the film more gloomy than exciting. If given the chance, many people might be eager to relive their childhood, however, it would not be the same as before. The movie suggests that ignorance truly is bliss. This is not to say “Big” is a bad movie. The invoking of authentic responsive emotions grants the film its status as a classic and timeless favorite.

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