Giant Little Ones, a new film from award-winning director, Keith Behrman, is a coming of age movie about two popular boys (played by Darren Mann and Josh Wiggins). Their lives are turned upside down by an incident that happens on one of the boys’ 17th birthday. Will the friendship of Franky and Ballas survive the aftermath of the incident?
Franky is pretty easy-going. He lives with his mom, Carly (played by the always wonderful Maria Bello), a recently divorced woman whose husband, Ray (played by Kyle MacLachlan), left her for a man. Also living at the house is Franky’s sister, Deanne (Olivia Scriven). Both Franky and Carly are bitter about the divorce, so much so, that Franky barely talks to his father, and never takes his father’s phone calls. Ray is forced to show up in-person if he wants an opportunity to talk to Franky.
It’s tough enough being a teenager and high school, in general. However, Franky is deeply affected by an incident that happens late on the night of his birthday. This incident will not only change the way that Franky sees himself, but it also affects the friendship with people he’s closest too.
Giant Little Ones Review: A Look At The First Scenes
As we fade up from black, we are in Franky’s room. He is sound asleep laying on his stomach in bed. His phone alarm goes off, waking him up. Sleepily, he rubs his hands through his hair as he sits up. Next, we cut to Franky riding his bike in the street with a backpack on and earbuds in his ears. We follow Franky down the street as he heads to Ballas’ house.
When Franky arrives, he sees Ballas and Ballas’ girlfriend, Jess (Kiana Madeira), climbing off the roof. Apparently, Jess has spent the night. Once down, Jess hugs Franky and tells him good morning. We cut to the two boys riding their bikes down the street as Ballas tells Jess about his night.
Next, we cut to a swim team practice that both boys are a part of. The team is doing laps under the watchful eye of their coach (Jeff Clarke). We then cut to a classroom where Franky is next to one of his best friends, Mouse (Niamh Wilson,) who happens to be a lesbian. She looks over to Jess and Ballas being all lovey-dovey and asks Franky ‘What’s up with them?’ Franky says ‘Call of the Wild’ and smiles at Mouse. A student named Priscilla (Hailey Kittle) gets called out by her teacher to pay attention in class. Priscilla then looks over at Franky and waves. Mouse comments that the girls at this high school want to ‘do it’ as much as the boys do. They banter back and forth about girls as they conduct a chemistry experiment in class.
Franky walks down the hallway, and it is very obvious that he is popular. All the students are saying hi to Franky. He pauses in the hallway to look at a girl (Taylor Hickman) as she is getting her things out of her locker. She looks over to Franky and is not happy he is looking at her. She closes her locker and walks right by Franky without saying a word.
We cut to Ballas’ house where he and Priscilla are making out. They stop, and Priscilla and Franky make plans for her to sleep over in his room after his birthday party. It’s a party that will change Franky’s whole life in ways that he couldn’t imagine.
Director Keith Behman gives us a riveting and moving tale with this film. Watching Franky trying to deal with the aftermath isn’t an easy journey, and, as with most teenagers, he doesn’t always deal with it correctly.
I loved the music in this film (which is by Michael Brook). Franky deals with his problems by listening to music. The tunes that stream through Franky’s earbuds (which at times seem permanently attached to his ears) gives us insight into what Franky is feeling.
The dialogue is smart and well-suited for teenagers, feeling natural and real. As a whole, the film moves at a nice pace, and I found the editing very fluid as well. Giant Little Ones is so enjoyable to watch that it feels much shorter than its ninety-three-minute runtime.
The film is well cast with Josh Wiggins having to do the heavy lifting, but Wiggins is more than up for the task. Showing the wide range of emotions that Franky goes through could have been a problem, but Wiggins gives Franky a depth that makes his character believable. He also has nice chemistry with Taylor Hickson, who plays Natasha, a former friend who has a secret of her own. Hickson breezes through her role as Natasha, adding some real emotional punch. Darren Mann does a fine job as well – playing the troubled Ballas, Franky’s closest friend.
I loved Maria Bello and Kyle MacLachlan as the mother and father of Franky. Bello plays Carly as a woman who has been deeply hurt. She thinks that her husband just one day decided he was gay – thus leaving her and their lives behind. MacLachlan gives a very nuanced performance as Ray, a father who desperately wants to connect with his son and help him get through a tough time.
Giant Little Ones is a wonderful film that shows us life can be hard and messy, and that sometimes we just have to survive the rough moments and find new ways to experience life. Do yourself a favor and go on a journey of discovery with Franky and his friends. You just might find out something about yourself.
Giant Little Ones Review
My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
Mike’s Movie Rating System From Best to Worst:
I Would Pay to See it Again
You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again