Review: THE BFG

By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

Recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) stars as the leading character in The BFG (short for The Big Friendly Giant), directed by Steven Spielberg, based on screenwriter Melissa Mathison’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book. Even though I have not read the source material, nor viewed the 1989 animated film, I found much to enjoy about the film with the mix of adventure and fantasy. This is a film for audiences of all ages as the “young human bean,” 10-year-old Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), goes from living in an orphanage to living in Giant Country after being transported by BFG (Rylance).

He does not anticipate she will be his next meal. Instead, he wants to ensure she never tells anyone, ANYONE, about what she saw outside her window in the wee small hours of the morning. I certainly was not expecting the pair to become friends, nor did I anticipate I would have such a good time “letting go” in order to believe that this fantasy can be a reality. Sophie is smart, brave and ready to tackle the challenges posed by the other nine giants who bullied and threatened The BFG, but potentially the world she has known. The performances are great, as well as the scenes of the dream-gathering expedition in Dream Country.

At first, children may be a bit scared when Sophie spots something or someone outside her window, but a bit of humor and levity is added when the BFG hides while he is in London, quickly transforming himself into something else in order to blend in. Rylance’s voice is amusing as he speaks in a dialect he is familiar with, and it is not long before he and Sophie find the path that leads to the bond they form.

I can’t pass up sharing that I did enjoy the silly humor after The BFG introduces the green drink with the bubbles that may be tasty, but certainly has an immediate effect that has everyone belt out in laughter. At first it is watching The BFG gulp and enjoy the drink and think nothing of the results, but then later in the film, this sparkling beverage of choice is the one he shares with the Queen of England (Penelope Wilton) and others. Dispense with the manners in Buckingham Palace!

Among the other cast members (voice and/or “human beans” are Jermaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader and extensive other talent.

My son may well remember the story of The BFG and I am pleased to know he is now able to share this story with his son.

The film is rated PG and running time is 115 minutes.

Source: Walt Disney Studios

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