Little Boy full movie review - Very heartwarming and touching rich story
At the time of World War II, James, a father of two from a small fishing town gets conscripted to fight the Japanese in the Pacific front after having his oldest son Landon denied enlisting in the Army for being flat footed.
The younger little boy Pepper seems to be having symptoms of dwarfism and thus gets bullied by bigger kids, including Freedy, the son of Dr. Fox. Pepper is very close to James, who often takes him to see movies and shows of the magician Ben Eagle. In their town lives an old man of Japanese descent Hashimoto. People around town hates Hashimoto and considers him part of the enemy. Pepper's mother Emma gets news that James is being captured as a prisoner of war. One day Pepper gets selected as a volunteer to do Ben Eagle's trick of supposedly move a bottle telepathically. Landon and Pepper acts even further and vandalized Hashimoto's house, sending Landon to jail. Pepper gets sent to the local church where he meets Fr. Oliver who sees his innocence and gives Pepper a list of the works of mercy from Matthew 25:34-46, plus an addition of making friends with Hashimoto. Pepper goes to Hashimoto reluctantly. Hashimoto meets Fr. Oliver and gets explained about the priest's intentions. Pepper goes to see Landon in jail and strikes out "Visit the imprisoned" off the list. Soon Fr. Oliver goes on an assignment and Pepperis left without anyone to help him with his list.
One day Hashimoto helped Pepper escape from bullies. Feeling that he need to better his friendship with Hashimoto, Pepper visits him again and this time Hashimoto offers to help him on the list. With Hashimoto's help Pepper quickly strikes off "Visit the sick", "Shelter the homeless", and "Clothe the naked". One day Dr. Fox comes by the house offering sympathy and even helps Landon out of jail. Pepper complains to Hashimoto about being small. Hashimoto teaches Pepper to be brave and stand up for himself. For "Feed the hungry", Emma tells Pepper to invite a friend to eat, to which Pepper invites Hashimoto. But Landon gets angry and kicks him out. Sam, a local who lost his son at Pearl Harbor threatens Hashimoto to leave town. Landon catches up with Hashimoto and Pepper. He yells at Pepper and Pepper challenge his brother about having a faith that can move mountains. Landon stands Pepper up facing the mountain behind the town. As Pepper practices his faith, an earthquake takes place. This makes Pepper believe more in his faith's power and day after day practices on his father's picture and the door to bring him home. A letter comes informing Pepper that for his father to return, the war must first end.
Hashimoto tells Pepper where to point out but he also teaches him to do what makes sense to Pepper. Instead Pepper practices his faith pointing out to where the sun touches the water every after noon with the town watching. One day, the war ended after the bomb code-named "Little Boy" destroyed Hiroshima. But James hasn't come home yet. One night Sam and Landon vandalized Hashimoto's house, and Sam beats Hashimoto up. Landon stays put and gets sent to jail again. Hashimoto survives the ordeal and drops charges, freeing Landon. Emma receives news that James has been killed. The army tell Emma that James is buried in the Pgillipines but Emma holds a funeral ceremony anyway. Hashimoto strengthen Pepper that James' love is contained in the list. But One day an army officer comes and tell Emma that there was a mistake on James' name due to his dog tags got switched to another person, and that James is actually still alive. The family reunite at a hospital.
The story is very nice indeed. It's greatly a complete story; it tells us about the real animosity targeted at Japanese descent American during the World War II, but at another angle it also teaches about a kid's innocence and faith at it's fullest. The undertones are also strong; pitting faith against reason, and also giving example about faithfulness. It's not necessarily a Christian movie yet it's filled with great Christian values, without having to be instructional.
I like what the movie did repeatedly when it depicts Pepper's faith. The little boy's faith may start in the wrong way from believing in Ben Eagle's powers. But the movie shows that in faith it's not really how you have the faith that matters, but instead how you persevere and persist in practicing your faith and also accept that in the end it all comes back to the will of God. Also, the movie gets balanced enough by having the samurai values put in. But here, the movie wisely chooses the samurai value that doesn't contradict the Biblical value being emphasized. The value Hashimoto taught Pepper can also be seen in the Bible in the example of how David faces Goliath.
The acting overall is also a great job. Despite lacking a big name talents aside from the supporting roles by Kevin James and Tom Wilkinson, the movie can really rely on the niceties of its story and how the screenplay and directing job did to amaze. Jakob Salvati did a great job in acting his parts despite his age. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa delivered a very nice performance, carrying his menacing looks from his previous antagonist roles added with a depiction of a sense of wisdom from the East. Emily Watson, David Henrie and Michael Rapaport all provided the necessary angles for Pepper's family.
A score of 8 out of 10 is from me for Little Boy (2015), along with a definite recommendation to go see in the movies. Besides being very much heart-warming and touching, this movie can really be a definite family entertainment.