By Meanne M. Mijares
Mark Rylance … The BFG
Ruby Barnhill … Sophie
Penelope Wilton … The Queen
Jemaine Clement … Fleshlumpeater
Rebecca Hall … Mary
Rafe Spall … Mr. Tibbs
Story (based on the novel by Roald Dahl)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Family and Children
The BFG — which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Roald Dahl’s much-loved fantasy novel– is about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and Sophie, the young orphan he first seizes and later make friends with. The film has a gloomy tone, and jittery moments of danger and jeopardy intersperse the story to begin with. After Sophie got kidnapped, she expects the BFG to broil her for dinner, and later she’s pursued by the other giants, who love to devour children; these giants are detrimental, flamboyant, and creepy when they’re on screen. In one scene, the BFG implants a nightmare in Sophie’s mind when she sleeps just so she will believe him about how truly dreadful the other hulks really are. Death is also referenced in not-so- delicate ways: Sophie candidly states that her parents are passed on, and the BFG refers to another human child he used to be friends with who was undoubtedly chomped by the other giants. While the frights are enough to keep the kid viewers away, this fiction about uncovering friendship and family in the improbable places also extends sweetness, humor, and heart — as well as matters of courage, empathy, and perseverance.
In THE BFG, Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a young orphan with insomnia, spends her evenings either walking the halls of the orphanage or reading books well into the wee hours of the night. On one of these restless nights, she finds herself face-to-face with “the boogie monster.” He kidnaps her and takes her to live on Giant Island; as a result, Sophie spends the beginning of the movie terrified and angry — she’s scared of being eaten and then angry when she learns she’s expected to live on Giant Island for the rest of her life. But gradually Sophie and the “monster” get to know each other, and Sophie learns that he’s actually a Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance), who walks the streets at night placing good dreams into children’s rooms. As their friendship unfolds, the BFG shows caring and kindness toward Sophie — and they work together to try to rid Giant Island of the rest of its scary, bullying residents, all of whom are eager to eat the “bean” (aka “child”) that the BFG brought home with him. Sophie and the BFG power through dangerous encounters, terrifying close calls, and sheer hilarity as they discover a deep and truly unique friendship.
The film teaches kids about not judging others by their looks, about the importance of friendship (no matter how unbelievable it is), and the power of speaking up and seeking for help. Children may also learn about Nicholas Nickleby, the Charles Dickens book that Sophie is reading when she’s abducted by the BFG.
The film emphasizes on themes about friends coming in all shapes and sizes, how even one or two persons can make a difference, and how everyone needs someone to have confidence in them. Sophie and the BFG’s friendship also delve into how friends should be there for each other, and their dealings with the queen discloses that is alright to ask for help, even if it seems intimidating and overwhelming.
Positive Role Models & Representations
The BFG and Sophie are great friends to each other. They protect, listen to, and support each other rise above apparently challenging hurdles. The queen believes in Sophie and the BFG and that is why Her Majesty agrees to help them. Sophie is brave and unwavering.
We All Have the Right to Make Our Dreams Come True
Steven Spielberg’s version of the Roald Dahl novel is visually stunning, with unified special effects that blend computer-generated giants with real-life actors. Mark Rylance stars as the title character – the Big Friendly Giant – who teams up with a strong-willed, 10-year-old orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill). Together, they try to keep other giants from eating people with the help of the Queen of England (Penelope Wilton) and the British military. Sophie is in near-constant danger of being smushed, stomped on or outright devoured by the hulking inhabitants of Giant Country. And while the BFG himself is gentle and kind, the other giants – who are much larger than he is – are outlandish and threatening, and might seem scary for the kid viewers. Also, The BFG’s role is to capture dreams (and sometimes nightmares) to place in every Londoner’s head while they’re sleeping, so some of that metaphors might be a bit eerie for young children. And there’s a presence of a running joke involving pomposity that puts up a fiery culmination and best moments in the film. I’d say this is suitable for all ages.
VIOLENCE AND LEVEL OF FEARFULNESS
The tone of the film is dark, and there is a load of peril and danger. Sophie is taken away by the BFG and immediately taken to Giant Country (she screams the whole time). After she’s kidnapped, Sophie believes she’s going to be eaten as the Giant sautees dinner (and she lands in the skillet)! She later realizes she’s safe with him — but the other nine giants are indeed human-eaters. These giants hunt for Sophie and do away with the BFG’s home. They also hurt him in several apprehensive scenes that put Sophie (and the BFG) in dangerous positions as she makes an effort to hide from them. The BFG places a nightmare in Sophie’s mind when she sleeps just so she’ll believe him about how truly bad the other giants really are. In one scene, a truck hits a giant’s private parts. At one point, a giant nearly does eat Sophie, but she’s saved in the nick of time. The Royal British Army march into Giant Country and conquers each of the “bad” giants. I can see a good point here which the film zeroes in on the triumph of good versus evil, and no evil deed goes unpunished. Another point is that we can speak up against those who bully us and put the matter in the hands of God. There were also several allusions to the last child who stayed with the BFG, whom the other Giants found and consumed.
Invectives like “you’re a disgrace to giants,” and some mindless foolish humor as a special fizzy drink causes everyone (even the queen) to “whizzpop” (fart).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men who seem drunk walk around the streets below the orphanage, and Sophie yells at them. The giants drink a green fizzy drink called frobscottle, in which the bubbles go down instead of up. Although it’s supposedly made from fermented snozzcumber, t’s not alcoholic, seeing as Sophie is allowed to drink it (and so does the queen of England).
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the BFG movie is an uplifting experience. It opens in an orphanage in the London. The main character, Sophie, is an insomniac orphan with a normal and ordinary life. But when she is awakened in the middle of the night, she meets someone who will change her life forever. She meets the BFG. In my opinion, the movie was very well done. It had a great plot with some added twists from the original story. The friendship between the BFG and Sophie is amazing. It is a joy to watch and see a little girl open herself up to the world with the help of someone you would never expect. The feeling is more like when you let a Big, Faithful God (Our Lord Himself) into your life and you are never the same again. With a funny and exciting plot, the BFG truly is a great film.
The magic, fantasy, and eventual pure sweetness between the two main protagonists is nothing short of heartwarming. The BFG has many opportunities to highlight what being a good friend is all about — and what it means to have strong values. Sophie, an orphan wise-beyond-her-years is portrayed incredibly well by Barnhill. She’s fully developed as a character, but her maturity is lovingly balanced with her regular, child-like ways. This is a long-awaited change, since “mature kids” in movies and TV shows can often seem lively and “un-relatable”.
The visuals live up to director Steven Spielberg’s reputation; as always, he has a knack for bringing fantastical elements and creatures into everyday life. As for the BFG himself, Rylance will win audiences over from his first (of many) teary-eyed smile. His giant warmth and compassion, his clumsy language and missteps, and his fortitude and determination will leave every viewer– wanting to have their own BFG. But as for most people, nothing beats a BIG FAITHFUL GOD!
The story line is new and refreshing which is hard to find in movies these days. I was extremely impressed by the BFG’s facial expressions, the artistry, and genuine smile that I found constant erupting on my face. Ruby Barnhill as Sophie does a wonderful performance. I would not be surprised if a bright acting career is in her future!
The atmosphere created was much deeper, richer and more enchanting. I commend Steven Spielberg for doing more than an amazing job on this movie. He deserves the Best Director Award! The realistic friendly face of the BFG is an incredible artistic achievement. I love the perfect balance for children with the bad Giants, not focusing on too much of the ghastly images and instead of the usual with films nowadays somehow made directors thinking the louder, the scarier the better, Spielberg gave the Giants personality over scary looks that gives a spine tingling feel.
FAMILY BONDING TIME AFTER WATCHING “THE BFG”
I encourage parents to discuss with their children what makes Sophie such a strong character in The BFG.
Some questions they may find helpful are the following:
Do you think Sophie is a good role model? Why? Can you recall other movies highlighting strong female characters?
What was the frightening part of the film? Did the creepy parts make the film sadder or more fun? Why? How much frightening stuff can young children deal or cope with?
What did the BFG teach you about friendship? What specific things happened that were examples of empathy, courage, and perseverance? Why are those important character builders?
Why do you think the BFG didn’t eat “beans” like the other giants? In what ways is he different from the other giants?
I give the movie a 5 star rating. Perfect!