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Review: “Little Boy”

Review: “Little Boy”

CREDITS: Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and 7-year-old newcomer Jakob Salvati. Open Road. Executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (Son of God, A.D., Ben-Hur). Directed by Alejandro Monteverde. Written by Monteverde and Pepe Portillo. 4/24/15

FILM SYNOPSIS: Little Boy concerns an 8-year-old who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. Set in the 1940s, it captures the wonder of life through the eyes of an 8-year-old child. 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.

Pepper Busbee wants his dad home from the war and he’s told that if you have a faith even as little as the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains. But how to get that faith? Father Oliver, the family priest, gives him a list of deeds to accomplish that will help his spiritual faith grow. The main one has to do with loving and forgiving an enemy. During WWII there was no greater enemy to the American people than the Japanese. Just released from a concentration camp. Mr. Hashimoto still faces an angry nation simply because he has the “face of the enemy.” And even Pepper calls him “Jap.”

REVIEW: Gutsy and profound, Little Boy reminds us that the faith of a child can be more powerful than whole armies. It also reminds us that prejudice is something taught. And once taught, is very hard to un-teach.

A solid cast is led by a child, for little Jakob Salvati gives a moving, believable portrayal that by film’s end causes us to want to be better people. It is a performance that greatly contributes to the uplifting of the spirit of man.

The film receives its rating for thematic material. During WWII, after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese became feared and hated by Americans. Understandably, this led to name-calling and stereotyping. But America has always been a melting pot, a mixture of all races. And unfortunately, most other races in America (not just white people) came to refer to the Japanese with what now is considered a racial slur. And Japanese-Americans lost rights simply because they had the “face of the enemy.” The film points this out in an attempt to see that such injustice never reoccurs.

PG-13 ( I caught no objectionable language other than the name-calling, mainly calling the Japanese “Japs”; a few scenes feature war battles; a man is badly beaten and his belongings destroyed simply because he has the “face of the enemy”; brief drinking).

Running Time: 101 min. Intended Audience: Older kids and up.

By: Ken Raney and Phil Boatwright

Film and DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright: theMovieReporter.com. Besides providing a monthly column for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for www.previewonline.org. He also is a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group, which also publishes WORLD Magazine.

For more movie reviews, as well as news, reviews, and interviews on all forms of entertainment media from a Christian perspective, visit Ken Raney at ClashEntertainment.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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