Movie Review: Open Road's "Little Boy"

Little Boy

Release Date: April 24th 2015
Director: Alejandro Monteverde
Writers: Pepe Portillo and Alejandro Monteverde
Producers: Eduardo Verastegui, Leo Severino, Alejandro Monteverde, Emilio Azcarraga, Bernardo Gomez, Micky Ohare, Sean Wolfington
Main Cast: Kevin James , Emily Watson , Michael Rappaport , Tom Wilkinson , Jakob Salvati , Ben Chaplin , Cary Tagawa , Ted Levine , David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic material including violence
Genres: Comedy | Drama | War
Running Time: 106 mins

Official Sites: Web | Facebook | Twitter | IMDb
LITTLE BOY is a powerful and moving film about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The heartwarming story will capture your heart and lift your spirits as it reveals the indescribable love a little boy has for his father and the love a father has for his son. Set in the 1940s, LITTLE BOY is an instant cinematic classic that captures the wonder of life through the eyes of an 8- year-old little boy. Written and directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde, LITTLE BOY highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity.

Little Boy is an inspirational film starring Jakob Salvati as a little boy willing to do anything it takes in order to bring his father home from World War II.  Other stars include David Henrie, Kevin James, Emily Watson, Ted Levine, Michael Rapoport, Ben Chaplin and Tom Wilkinson.

From start to finish, Little Boy is a very charming film.  The premise is heartfelt.  When London Busbee (Henrie) is unable to join the military during World War II, London’s father, James (Rapoport), feels obligated to serve in his place, meaning that he has to leave his family to go to war. James’ enlistment is especially difficult for Pepper Flynt Busbee or Little Boy (Salvati), as his enemies call him, because Pepper and James have a very special bond as father and son.  Life is complicated for Little Boy.  He doesn’t have many friends and he doesn’t quite fit into the big world around him.  There isn’t anything wrong with Little Boy there just isn’t a lot right that others can see.  As soon as James leaves for War, Little Boy aches for his father’s return and he is willing to do anything to have his father back from war safely.  And so, the story begins.

Jakob Salvati is wonderful as Little Boy.  He’s is just the right mix of adorable and spunky.  He may be little, but he isn’t a victim.  He has a plan, and an instruction manual, for bringing his father home and no one is going to stand in his way.  Most of the steps in his plan take Little Boy out of his comfort zone, but he is nonetheless determined.  Salvati takes you through a myriad of emotions.  There are some funny bits and some touching bits. 

The entire cast was great.  I appreciated that there are several smaller stories running through the film which, for the most part, work well.  I enjoyed the interaction between Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Father Oliver (Tom Wilkinson).  Listen closely to their conversations over chess.  Its deep, meaning of life, stuff.  I did not enjoy as much the inclusion of David Henrie in his role as London.  Henrie did not seem convincing as Little Boy’s older brother.  London has a heavy storyline, both with his feelings about his father and the feelings about Hashimoto, and I don’t feel that Henrie has the acting chops to pull it off.

This film has great themes, and it lets the audience decide which of the themes the audience wants to believe.  Can a little boy move a mountain through his faith or are earthquakes totally random occurrences?  Can Little Boy really end a war to bring his father home? You get to decide what to believe.  The film is either super inspirational or very coincidental.  

Bring tissues.  The day I watched Little Boy, just about everyone was crying.  Big tears.  I could hear sinuses going, too.  That said, it isn’t a downer of a movie.  A few tears are okay.  This film is more than okay in my book.  Definitely go see it.  Gentle enough for the whole family.  Take a little time from reality to go believe the impossible.  Reality will be there when you get done with the film.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go see Little Boyfor yourself when it opens on April 24.

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