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

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.