“Have you ever had a Really Big Secret?”- Tagline for “Big”(1988) Everyone has a favourite film starring a particular actor. For me, Tom Hanks’ best film is Penny Marshall’s 1988 hit film, “Big”. Although not one of Hank’s first roles, it is the one which he received the most recognition for, receiving both a Oscar and Golden Globe nomination in the process.
The premise of “Big” is straightforward enough- 12 year old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) makes a wish on a fortune teller machine called “Zoltar Speaks” after being told that he’s too short to go on a carnival ride. His wish? To be “big”. Of course, things never run smoothly in these type of situations, and he wakes up the next morning to discover that the machine has taken his request literally- he is now in the body of a 30 year old man (Tom Hanks).
After trying (and failing) to convince his mother of this mishap, Josh seeks the help of his best friend Billy (Jared Rushton), who helps him run away to New York City,where he gets a job in the toy company FAO Schwartz due to his childlike nature and knowledge of toys. Along the way, he has to reassure his mother, who believes that he has been kidnapped, as well as experience a mature relationship with his attractive co-worker Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). But when the opportunity arises to turn back into a child, will Josh take it, or will he choose to remain in his successful adult life?
“Big” was the movie that defined my childhood, mostly because of Hank’s conviction and earnestness in the main role. He was completely convincing to me as a naive youngster trapped in a world that baffles him initially, but seeing him adapt to his new situation always made me root for him to succeed even more. My favourite scene is probably the best known one, where Josh and his new boss, Macmillan (Robert Loggia) perform “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” on a giant walking piano. It became one of my short-lived dreams to play the piano just like in that scene.
In conclusion, I would rate “Big” a total of five out of five stars, and would recommend it to kids aged 8 and up, although there are some references that would fly over their heads. All in all, this is ultimately a movie for the whole family to enjoy.