The movie Big which starred Tom Hanks is about a thirteen-year old boy named Josh who wished that he were already an adult after he was refused from one of the rides at a fair because he did not make the height limit. He wakes up one morning to find out that he was already all grown up. He rushes out of the house after scaring his Mom who does not recognize him. With the help of his friend Billy, he gets a job at a toy company and begins going through the life of an adult. Toward the end of the movie he realizes how much he misses being a kid.
He wishes that he were a kid again and returns home to his mother. First of all, Big is a fantasy film. In real life, nobody could grow overnight like what happened to Josh without supernatural intervention like the Zoltar wishing booth which helped Josh make his wish come true. While watching the film one could not but help wonder if Josh might be dreaming. Toward the end of the film, one realizes that the young boy was not dreaming at all when he slowly turns back into the thirteen year old boy right before the eyes of his girlfriend Susan whom he met at the toy company.
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In spite of it being a fantasy film, the movie which is all about growing up was able to focus on one aspect of adolescence which is getting attracted to the opposite sex which is one reason for Josh’s desire to be all grown up. He becomes attracted to a young girl whom he tries to impress by attempting to get on one of the rides at the fair. Another aspect of adolescence that was featured in the film is the desire of teenagers to free themselves from being a kid and have freedom from their parents.
Just to give the impression that he was all grown up Josh lied to his crush when he told her that he was all by himself at the fair. When Josh saw his crush, he got rid of the funny shark hat he was wearing just so he would not look funny in front of his crush which is what teenagers Josh’s age would normally do. Another important aspect of adolescence is the rate by which girls mature compared to that of boys. It’s a known fact that girls mature faster than boys. This was shown in that scene in the film where the grownup Josh brings his girl to his apartment which he shares with Billy.
The girl expects to see a man’s room but instead she sees a room full of toys. The girl expects to have Josh make love to her the whole night but they end up jumping up and down on the trampoline. This slow rate of maturation on the part of the boys was also shown in that scene wherein his boss caught Josh playing with one of the toys at a toy exhibit and how Josh and Billy spent the former’s first pay on fun things rather than on more important items like clothes and food. The movie was able to depict the pain of leaving behind childhood things on the part of the boys.
In spite of having achieved success in his present position in the toy company, Josh suddenly felt a longing for the days when he was still thirteen years old. The movie shows him going back to his home town where he sort of envies two boys who were playing ball, his crush riding in the car with her boyfriend as well as with her other friends, and his school mates who were having fun with their picture being taken in front of the school. Because of the uncontrollable desire to be thirteen again he explains to his surprised girlfriend that he was a thirteen year old boy trapped in a man’s body.
This desire to go back to who he was before reaches its peak when during a presentation he walks out of the room, goes to his hometown and becomes the thirteen year old Josh again after putting in his wish in the Zoltar machine. The movie was able to depict the process of growth when boys, particularly go through the stage of adolescence. This was depicted in that scene when Josh stopped going out with his friend Billy because he wanted to spend more time with his girlfriend especially after he had his taste of first kiss and sex.
Josh also discovers the importance of being responsible especially in the performance of one’s job and the use of money. Tom Hanks did justice to the role of Josh who was acting as a kid in man’s body. The actor was able to portray the innocence of Josh as he gradually discovered the things that grownups go through. The movie also had its funny moments too. There was that scene in the company party wherein Josh wore a funny looking tuxedo. As he tasted the food he was acting like a kid who just picks up the food without caring about what the other guests would say.
Of course, the scene wherein Susan’s former boyfriend was presenting his new idea for a toy was funny too. While the presentation was going on, Josh was not able to resist the temptation of tinkering with the toy building that was supposed to transform into a robot. Since the movie is about the pains of growing up, counselors may use some scenes from the film for giving advice to troubled teenagers and their parents. For example, there are teenagers who think that they can grow up overnight just like what happened to Josh.
Counselors can cite what happened to Josh to explain to them that growing up is a gradual process and is not easy to do. One of the things that growing up involves is giving up things like toys and spending a lot of time with one’s friends and making discoveries in life. To parents who are worried that their thirteen year old son is developing feelings of attraction, the counselor can use the movie to help the parents understand that it is but natural for boys who are as old as Josh to develop those kind of feelings.
Sometimes parents are worried that their son or daughter is still acting like a child even though he or she is already a teenager. The movie can help parents understand that sometimes mental age and physical age do not always travel down the road at the same pace as what happened to Josh who still continued like a kid in spite of being aware that he had already become a man. Overall the movie was not only entertaining but educational as well. References Mannheim, Jennifer. (2008). Puberty and Adolescence. Medline Plus. Retrieved from http://www. nlm. nih. gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001950. htm.
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