Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Big, starring Tom Hanks, is a classic 80s film. Like Field of Dreams, it uses a fantastical aspect to explore issues that are relevant to everyone. The story is about twelve-year-old Josh, who at a carnival wishes to be "big" so that he can do the things grown-ups do. The next morning he wakes up to find himself magically grown-up as a thirty-year-old. However, he can't exactly explain the situation to his mom, so he enlists the help of his friend Billy and travels to New York City to find a place to live and a job.
Tom Hanks does a wonderful job in conveying the childlike innocence of an adolescent trapped in an adult's body, and this situation provides for many humorous incidents. We get to see how a twelve-year-old would deal with normal adult responsibilites like getting an apartment, getting a job, and even dealing with a relationship. Josh gets the perfect job working for a toy company, and although his success is a little unrealistic, it helps the film make its statement. As Josh becomes more absorbed in the adult professional world, he begins to lose his childlike wonder and innocence. He becomes alienated from his friend Billy. His relationship with a co-worker, which he is definitely not ready for, also complicates matters further. In the end, Josh tires of the adult world and wishes to be a boy again. He gets to do whatever he wants, but the seriousness and responsibilites have become grating. He wants to enjoy the carefree years of being a kid again.
This film has a definite message that youthful innocence is important and that no one should grow up too fast. Josh's childlike wonder as a grown-up has a message for older viewers as they watch him enjoying the simple things in life and living life to the fullest. Instead of being bored with his life as most adults are, he finds joy in everything. A classic moment is when Josh dances on a life-size keyboard and a business executive joins him, a moment of childlike joy whose image has become iconic. Therefore, the film is tellings its viewers that you should enjoy your life while you can and look at it as a kid does in order to enjoy it more. This film is also a statement against the corporate greed of the 80s, as Josh's involvement in the business world sucks out all of his energy. Josh's relationship with an older woman (unbeknownst to her) is also cute and charming as we watch his innocent reactions to grown-up activities. This film is very sweet and funny, and has a great message that we need to enjoy life while we can, like a child would. This kind of ties in with the "me" mentality of the 80s, but I think it's something that everyone needs to consider.
Posted by April at 5:03 PM