GIANT LITTLE ONES – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Giant Little Ones is a fascinating coming of age story. It goes beyond the typical “gay teen” flick and instead deals with sexuality and falling in love on a case by case situation instead of a blanket one-size-fits all that we see in most films. Instead, the often-painful politics of it all, hetero, homo, teen or adult sexual desires are explored in a very believable and relatable way. The film uses the story of two popular teen boys Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) who have been best friends since childhood. When they were younger, it was always Franky, Ballas, and his older sister Dianne Kohl (Olivia Scriven) running around the neighborhood getting into trouble. Now the boys are on the high school swim team together while Dianne has become an outsider with them and their classmates. Franky and Ballas even hang out with their girlfriends together, they are just best of friends. Ballas pressures Franky to catch up with him since he hasn’t slept with his girlfriend Pricilla “Cil” (Hailey Kittle) yet and Ballas is constantly banging Jess (Kiandra Madeira), his paramour. Also as Franky ’s openly lesbian best friend Mouse (Niamh Wilson) comically puts it “you need to get busy.”
Everything is going along fine and Franky and Pricilla are planning to finally have sex after his epic birthday party that his mom Carly (Maria Bello) allows him to throw at home as she goes out on a blind date. She’s left his older sister Deanne (Olivia Scriven) in charge as a chaperone. This is the first time she’s gone out since her divorce to Ray (Kyle MacLachlan) who came out of the closet before the divorce losing his relationship with a lot of their mutual friends and his son Franky as well because of it. At the end of the evening, Pricilla’s mom calls and insists she comes home instead of staying overnight at what she believes is a girl’s house thus killing Franky’s plans to lose his virginity. Still drunk from the party Franky and Ballas ride their bikes through the neighborhood shooting off the flare gun he gave Franky as a birthday gift. They barely survive an encounter at the local convenience store with a group of men who try to attack them because they think the boys are gay. Once home an unexpected incident occurs between the boys that night in Franky’s room that will dramatically upend their friendship and lead Franky to question his sexual orientation and his fear of being gay just like his dad.
Giant Little Ones is not the typical “Gay coming of age” kind of film Hollywood would put out, with witty banter and fast cuts to pop music. It’s much larger than that. The storyline is achingly believable and encompasses not just Frankys story but that of the people around him. The widescreen cinematography of Guy Godfree is lush and adds to the stylized direction of Keith Berman. Some of the directional styles reminded me of Gus Van Sant movies with it’s over the shoulder POV and handheld shots. This is not meant to take away anything from Berman’s masterful storytelling or his ability to get such strong performances from everyone in his cast. Also, the soundscape of this film is fantastic. It combines excellent house music and natural sounds like swimming underwater, or the cacophony of noise in a high school hallway turning it into another character in the film. Often pulling us in then pushing us away as needed at the moment. It’s really brilliant.
Giant Little Ones is a film that everyone, gay or straight can relate to. It deals with real issues in today’s climate of sexual fluidity that teen and adults have to face nowadays. I give this beautiful gem of a film a solid A+ rating and hope you will seek it out to watch and enjoy.
Directed by Keith Behrman
Written by Keith Behrman
Running Time 1hr 33min
Limited Release March 15th Angelika Film Center Dallas & Plano
Starring: Maria Bello, Taylor Hickson, Kyle MacLachlan, PeterOuterbridge, Darren Mann, Josh Wiggins
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.