Little Boy

Little Boy

DVD - 2015
Average Rating:
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Little Pepper Busbee enjoys an idyllic life in an American small town, but his world is shattered when his beloved father is sent off to fight in World War II. But a chance encounter with a stage magician awakens his dormant abilities and clues him into the power of faith. Now his devotion to his father will extend past time and space and into the realm of miracles.

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i
INVS
Mar 11, 2018

Some really good actors....a bit too sweet for me, but it does have a moral to the story.

n
Nursebob
Jan 09, 2018

Comic book fantasy is confused with religious faith in Alejandro Monteverde’s WWII fable, an English language confection so oppressively saccharine it's like drowning in corn syrup while being beaten about the head with a Sunday School primer. The director piles on so many hackneyed coincidences and emotional manipulations it's difficult to pinpoint his film’s weakest link. As the perpetually dew-eyed moppet, Jakob Salvati does have a few shining moments but his character is so relentlessly precious you don’t know whether to pat him on the head or strangle him. Michael Rapaport doesn’t fare much better as the father, his portrayal hovering somewhere between grownup man-child and loveable St. Bernard. Only Emily Watson (mom) and Tom Wilkinson (benevolent priest) are particularly noteworthy but their talents are largely wasted on a script dripping with pathos and treacle. Then there’s the quaint cinematography, looking like sun-dappled Norman Rockwell prints, which promises nostalgic depth but delivers period bric-a-brac instead especially when coupled with a forced whimsy that obviously aims for Wes Anderson territory. Ultimately it's the story’s sketchy sense of morality that left me scratching my head—the mistreatment of a Japanese-American is frowned upon yet the destruction of Hiroshima is cause for cake and lemonade as the townsfolk rally around a beaming Pepper who somehow links the mushroom cloud with his ersatz superpowers (google “Little Boy WWII”). The final nail however has to be the film’s patently ludicrous ending, a scene so full of gushing sunshine and bullcrap it would even cause Steven Spielberg to hurl his lunch.

v
vc0222
Jan 03, 2018

A very powerful, moving, and heartwarming story about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his father home from World War II. Great family movie, but keep in mind the PG-13 rating.

l
lemons
Nov 26, 2017

Nicely done movie for sure, but it is sad 😔 and my not be suited for young children

b
bootsiedog
Nov 21, 2017

Another odd film that I loved, happy, sad with a beautiful story line, lots of lessons on life, living and love.

j
joseph
Sep 05, 2017

Very enjoyable film from historical set designs and costumes of the mid-1940s to the story that reaps with emotional pluses without being preachy. Well done film and highly recommended.

r
reiyos
Mar 05, 2017

Devotion of a little boy to his father. Deals well with some difficult topics. And yes, I consider it a family film.

r
rubydogvpl
Dec 20, 2016

A score of 30, yes THIRTY, on Metacritic. Need I say more?

m
Mark_E_Schitts
Dec 19, 2016

Treacly

j
Janice21383
Dec 18, 2016

Never mind the nuclear holocaust, daddy's coming home! Actors have troughs as well as peaks in their careers, true, but I had no idea Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, and others had sunk this low. Can't movies like this stick to performers like Kevin James? ETA: in fairness, it seems that many viewers like a story about children firebombing a Japanese man's store and cutely praying to God to bring their father home from war, and God apparently responding by bombing Hiroshima (and Nagasaki -- bonus!) fine.

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j
jimg2000
May 28, 2016

Spoiler Alert (read quotes after the movie unless you don't mind spoiler)
Pepper: Father Oliver said God was responsible ... Hashimoto said it was my father's will ...
===
Hashimoto: I do believe men can move mountains, Ollie. With dynamite.
Oliver: I believe that what happened to the mountain can't be reduced to a game of chance.
Hashimoto: Much of life is a gamble, Ollie. You're advising a desperate child who's ready to believe anything
that he is told. So tell me, Ollie... what happens when your imaginary friend works in His mysterious ways... and his father dies?
Oliver: Then my "imaginary friend" will also help him through it.
Hashimoto: Tell the kid to stop. If he doesn't, could lose faith in himself. That's what you should be worrying about.

j
jimg2000
May 28, 2016

You told the boy that if he waves a magic wand, he can bring his father back. You don't believe that, do you?
Fr. Oliver: Maybe. Maybe not. If it's God's will, yes. He can do anything. He could turn you into a rabbit if He wanted to. Have faith, Hashimoto. You should try it.
Hashimoto: Not again. I do have faith. Faith in oneself. Not in your imaginary friend in the sky. Let's hope this little game of yours doesn't mess with the boy's mind.

j
jimg2000
May 28, 2016

Father Crispin: That's the kind of faith that Moses had when he parted the Red Sea... the kind of faith that little David had when he defeated Goliath with a little stone. That's what we need, my friends, in these difficult times. So like Father Oliver used to ask, "What can we do? What can we do for our relatives at war? What can we do if we are here and they are there? And the answer is... if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move a mountain. If we can move a mountain, then nothing will be impossible for us. Not even ending this war... and having our loved ones back.
===
Father Oliver: There, it moved.
Pepper: No, you moved it.
Oliver: Yes, because you moved me to move it. See, I moved it because you wanted the bottle to move so much. And that, you could say, is how faith works. At least some of the time.

g
green_owl_448
Jan 19, 2016

do you believe you can do this

Age Suitability

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v
vc0222
Jan 03, 2018

vc0222 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

g
green_owl_448
Jan 19, 2016

green_owl_448 thinks this title is suitable for 5 years and over

k
kkcox
Jan 13, 2016

kkcox thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Summary

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j
Janice21383
Dec 20, 2016

Think I'm harsh? This is Alan Scherstul of the Village Voice's summary:

Did you know that there's a new family-audience feature film that implies God nuked Japan because one plucky American moppet dared to dream? That's no exaggeration. In the summer of 1945, the kid stands on a California dock, points his fingers magician-style out at the Pacific horizon, and screams a series of prayerful "Arggggh!"s in his efforts to perform some war-ending miracle. He's trying to move heaven and earth to get his father home from a P.O.W. camp; the movie, confoundingly, intercuts the dad's capture and torture with the son's being tossed by small-town bullies into a dumpster.

The kid prays and arggghs until the filmmakers, gauche and monstrous, cue up a jubilant "This Little Light of Mine" for the payoff to a gag you will have dreaded since learning the film is called Little Boy and that "Little Boy" is its small-fry hero's nickname. One morning his neighbors are dancing in the street, and the headline in the local paper credits "Little Boy" with de facto ending the war. That God, always eager to smite foreign cities if you just believe!

Examinations of faith on film don't have to be noxious. This spring a welcome restoration of René Clément's 1952 jewel Forbidden Games will be hitting screens. That's an honest film about children's faith and trauma in World War II, one about the ways that ritual can help us persevere through loss. But Little Boy is fitted for an era in which finding the faith that might sustain just isn't uplifting enough -- despite the fact that that's the only thing faith can actually do. Instead, the faith of Pepper Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is just another superpower.

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