The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) is based on Roald Dahl’s imaginative, playful and dark book by the same name. The movie stays pretty true to the book, and in fact, I came home from the theater and picked up the book to reread certain parts and could hear the Giant talking in my head. Stephen Speilberg was the director for this film, and I would expect nothing less than stunning.
The movie centers around Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a giggler (little girl) who lives in an orphange and The BFG (Mark Rylance). When Sophie sees the giant during the night, he takes her back to his home where she is to live out the days of her life. He cannot risk her telling anyone about giants.
The BFG is a vegetarian, but the other giants eat childers. The BFG feels the need to protect Sophie from the other giants, and she eventually sees past his giant-like form to his heart.
Penelope Wilton plays The Queen and is funny and witty with her expressions and portrayal of a majester.
The BFG has a strange way of talking. He messes up words quite often, and has other words that just don’t make sense. He knows that he gets confused, but Sophie actually begins to find it endearing.
The message of this movie is that you need to look past the exterior to see what is truly in a person’s heart, friends can be found in unexpected places, and other heartwarming sentimental stuff!
The movie is visually stunning. With the advancement of technology, sitting in a movie theater gives you the feeling that the action is actually happening right in front of your face. The words from the book were actually woven into moving pictures right in front of my eyes. The music was done by John Williams and was spot on! I thought several times throughout the movie that it was not the images that kept my attention, but the music that drew me into the scene.
There was one part of the movie that moved too slow, but otherwise, it kept my attention, had great details, and was a fantastic story. There were several times that we (my family) laughed out earbursting (loud). With Disney coming out with such great movies, we are coming to expect a home run every time. However, The BFG is one of those, “I don’t love this movie.”
I did very much like it, but it certainly isn’t a classic in my mind. When I asked Dash (age 13) about the movie, he said, “It left me wanting more.” I guess from a movie making standpoint that means he will want a sequel.
I would recommend this movie to ages 7-8 and up, but I do see the potential for even older children to be frightened by some scenes. There was nothing my family found objectionable as far as language or content. There were a few scenes with whizpoppers (farts) that were colorful and amusing.
If you would like a detailed account of the potential scenes that may frighten young children (or adults) please continue to read. The following contains spoilers.
So what is it that may specifically frighten children? I will list out all the potential items I think may be a problem, but that doesn’t mean it will be a problem for your child. Be aware that many times young children appear to be fine at the time of viewing something, but then when they are alone (in the dark) those images may flood their minds.
Jack-Jack (age 11) with autism, was frightened in the beginning. He did put his face into my arm several times. I use him as litmus. Currently he is viewing the world at probably a 7-8 year old.
The movie begins at night. Sophie (the main character) is walking the halls of the orphanage. She hears creaks and nighttime noises that are common in movies. She locks the orphanages doors while saying something like “the witching hour is when the boogeyman comes out, when people go missing.” She continues to talk to herself about the witching hour.
So goes upstairs and hears a ruckus outside, looks out the window and there are drunk men in the street. She has a conversation with them, and then lays in bed to read.
There are shadows in the window and noises, and Sophie says, “Never get out of bed. Never go to the window. Never look behind the curtain.”
Remember – nighttime, alone, the only one awake!
Then there is a giant in the dark that reaches in with his gigantic hand and grabs her – blanket and all!
He never says a word to her – takes her to his house. Sophie is tiny, tiny, and everything in the house is huge. He begins sharpening a knife, and slices a cucumber like vegetable with the knife.
The giant and Sofie talk and he tells her that he doesn’t eat people, but the other giants do. He begins naming the other giants. Bloodbottler, Butcher Boy, Maidmasher, Bonecruncher, etc. Sofie tells him about the orphanage and punishment which is being locked in a dark cellar with rats down there.
Sofie is told that she can never be taken back because she saw the BFG. She falls asleep and has a dream of another giant eating her.
When they encounter the other giants, they are twice as big as BFG. They try to find Sophie several times throughout the movie. They smash things and create a ruckus everywhere they go. (Think loud).
In another scene Sophie calls to the giant, but he doesn’t answer. Believing that he always hears her, no matter where he is, she just jumps off a balcony. He does catch her, but my husband leaned over and commented on it. Children with wild imaginations may believe that their “giant” will catch them.
In later scenes there is talk about children disappearing at night – this is set in England. The giants are eating children across the world.
There are scenes that depict the BFG “catching” dreams outside (like fireflies), bottling them, and taking them home. He then mixes dreams and blows them into people’s windows. This would be a good time to talk about how dreams a mixtures of our subconcious thoughts, and our minds way of working things out.
The movie has a happy ending, but I would be concerned about a small child being afraid at night. As always, if you think your child might be afraid, preview the movie first.