By Quentin Basnaw
When we’re younger, we all can’t wait to be grown-ups. You get a car, you get your own house, and you get to do what you want. Then again, you’re also hit with taxes, being by yourself, the mortgage, probably student debt, and so much more. So… why exactly do we want to be adults when we’re kids? Big explores this concept and many more in a wonderful way that’s perfect for the entire family.
Big stars Tom Hanks (Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan) as the grown version of a child in the movie. The child in question is named Josh Baskin, and he makes a wish: to be big. At a carnival, the magical Zoltar machine grants him his wish by turning him into an adult. Hilarity, heart, sadness, and happiness all ensue. Joining Josh on this journey is his coworker Susan Lawrence, portrayed by Elizabeth Perkins (28 Days, Finding Nemo) and his best friend Billy, who is still a child, played by Jared Rushton (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids).
This gem beautifully shows what adult life can be like at times. Kicked from his home, Josh has to find a job. Only he’s thirteen on the inside, adult on the outside. He hasn’t the faintest idea about applying for a job or how to act “adult.” Many jokes occur as a result of this, along with touching scenes that explore how a kid would react to hostile situations, such as gunshots going off outside of a seedy hotel complex, or dealing with increasing responsibilities. The charm of this movie, simply, is something that most movies nowadays lack. Its premise, the characters, and Tom Hanks all draw you into the world of this movie, where even when things are darkest, there is the silver lining.
For me, the only shortfalls of this movie are admittedly nitpicks. For one, Josh never has to worry about the fact he used a fake social security number to get a job. He also does not have to worry about lying to get his job. Finally, for me personally, the setup of the movie could’ve used a scene or two more, because on this rewatch, the setup wasn’t as engaging as it was when I first saw it. Again, these are nitpicks that aren’t the focus of the film. This is an old fashioned, feel good movie that deserves more attention. Check it out – and be careful what you wish for!