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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Movie Review - Little Boy

Little Boy (2015)
Starring Jakob Salvati, David Henrie, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, and Michael Rapaport
Directed by Alejandro Monteverde
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Faith-based movies are always a tricky go for this Catholic blogger.  Part of me wants to enjoy them, but they're quite frankly so poorly acted and written (or at least that's often the way their trailers look so I'm never drawn in) that it's tough to find one that is actually worth your time.  Little Boy doesn't change that notion although it is slightly more of a "movie" than a special after school edition of The 700 Club.  Perhaps more "Catholic" in its preachings than most other religious-themed films seeing as how the faith on display in the flick is the Catholic religion, Little Boy attempts to showcase how religion and faith can heal all, but the end result is a muddled mess.

The "little boy" of the title is Pepper Busbee (Jakob Salvati), an eight year-old who is saddened when his father and best buddy James (Michael Rapaport) is called off to fight in WWII after Pepper's older brother London (David Henrie) is said to be too unhealthy to go to war.  With the help of Father Oliver (Tom Wilkinson), Pepper begins a series of tasks that "prove" his faith in hopes that being strong in his beliefs will bring his father home safe.  And it's that "proving your faith" thing that makes Little Boy ridiculous.  I mean, I'm gonna spoil something here, but it's implied in this film that through "faith" and through Pepper's "hope," the little boy caused the war to end by praying for the US to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.  That's just inane and insulting.

Admittedly, the film does a nice job at creating an interesting relationship between young Pepper and older Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), an Asian-American who has just been released from an internment camp and is finding it very difficult to live in the US with the anti-Japanese feelings throughout the country during WWII.  Though their dialog is sometimes oddly written, I found the mutually beneficial relationship a tiny bit compelling, but that's the only thing Little Boy has going for it.  Beyond that, it's too simplistically (and sometimes embarrassingly and offensively) preachy for its own good.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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