The BFG

"Very Good"

The BFG Review


For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison, with whom he made E.T. nearly 35 years ago. Another story of an unlikely friendship, this film is even more wondrous and earnest, and also much more reliant on effects. But it's also hugely involving, with a terrific cast and of course a delightful story with a wry sense of humour.

 

It's set in a timeless London, where Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage. One night she spots a stealthy giant (Mark Rylance) prowling the city streets, so he grabs her and takes her back to Giant Country so she can't reveal his secret existence. As she gets to know him, Sophie discovers that he's an outcast in his own community, half the size of the nine giants (including Jemane Clement and Bill Hader) who live around him and bully him mercilessly because he doesn't eat human beans. This has earned him the nickname Big Friendly Giant, which Sophie shortens to BFG as she accompanies him into a colourful parallel world in his job collecting dreams and nightmares. Then when the bullies' threats grow stronger, Sophie comes up with a plan to get help from the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and her staff (Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall).

 

With a surging emotional score by John Williams, the film has an earnest tone that's sometimes rather overpowering, especially as Spielberg gives everything a storybook glow, from the puddled cobblestone streets of London to the windswept topography of Giant Country and the glowing colours in the dream realm. The film looks amazing, and performance-capture technology makes the giants into vivid characters. Rylance is instantly recognisable as BFG, and his face is fully expressive. He and Barnhill make a terrific duo, and both deliver terrific performances that make their characters engaging. Although it's impossible not to wish the film looked a bit more realistic and grounded.

 

The best scenes are the ones that bristle with real-world wit, such as the lively sequence in which Sophie and BFG visit Buckingham Palace. In these moments, there's an satirical edge to the slapstick that adds a striking layer of meaning. Otherwise, the film feels goofy rather than blackly ironic. For example, the lead bully Fleshlumpeater (Clement) is seriously nasty, but his torments are comical rather than terrifying. Even so, Spielberg is gifted at tapping into the childlike wonder in all of us, and this film has plenty of that. It also refreshingly never tips over into sappiness as it reminds us of the power of unexpected friendship.

 

Rich Cline

 

Watch the trailer for 'The BFG':


 



The BFG

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st July 2016

Distributed by: A & E

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Walden Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Mary, as Bloodbottler, as The BFG, Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, Marilyn Norry as Matron, as Fleshlumpeater, as The Queen, as General #2, Haig Sutherland as Danish Father, Paul Moniz de Sa as Palace Guardsman, Michael Adamthwaite as Footman #1, Graham Curry as Orphan #2, John Emmet Tracy as The BFG

Contactmusic


Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.