Lowdown: A little boy befriends a Japanese in order to get his WW2 MIA father back.
As it happened, Little Boy turned out to be the third feel good movie I got to watch in a relatively short span. First there was Australia’s Paper Planes, then France’s Populaire, and now the USA’s Little Boy. The funny thing about the experience is that these films evoke all the stereotypes one would associate with their countries of origin. Which doesn’t bid well for Little Boy…
Our premises are simple, as per the genre. Our hero, the Little Boy, is an abnormally little/weak boy raised at your nice all American loving home. Time are tough, though: it’s World War 2. When the older brother isn’t accepted into the army, the father feels he needs to do so instead, thus leaving our Little Boy without his only friend. Worse, the father gets lost in the thick of the war with Japan, with everybody assuming him dead. Everybody other than our Little Boy, whose faith can move mountains. And bring the father back.
The core of the movie revolves around the boy being told by the local priest (Tom Wilkinson) that, in order to bring his father back, he needs to befriend “the enemy” – that is, a Japanese guy residing in the same town that, for unclear reasons, has not been locked up in camp the way the rest of the American Japanese were during WW2. Our boy is rather reluctant, but remember this movie’s genre; this is all about the sweet and the sweeter. The two “enemies” get along, and we all cruise along into a happy ending sunset (albeit following the aftermath of another Little Boy).
Look, Little Boy is not the first or last sweeter than sweet movie to be made. There is nothing wrong with a rare indulgence along these lines. Its problem, however, is in its relentless sweetening; this is a movie that doesn’t know when to let go. Everything bends down before our Little Boy regardless of likelihood. When that includes moving mountains (exactly at the time and place convenient to our hero), you know the movie stepped too far.
Overall: Nice and all, but clearly Hollywood has a sugar addiction problem. 2.5 out of 5 diabetic crabs.