The coming of age story is and can be over used to simplify what the characters in the story are experiencing. Usually set during high school/secondary school or during one summer, the characters go through life until something changes them. There are moments of heartache and pain as well as concentrated moments of ecstasy. Feelings are explored, realisations are met with further pain and sometimes regret. Friends, family, strangers have an impact but in the end its about one or a group’s time as they grow up. Giant Little Ones is about more than just a coming of age story, there is no end, only a few moments of realisation and is more about consequences to unrealised truths and the lies that are told to hide, no matter who its affects.
The two elements to take from Giant Little Ones is that secrets and lies have disastrous consequences and love should have no labels. The film explores the damaging effect homophobia and ignorance has, especially in schools. Athletes are made to think that they have to me masculine to the point of poisoning their views. Reputation in school is everything to teenagers and one small rumour can change everything, despite whether it is based on fact or not. A friendship as close as the main characters, Franky and Ballas’, is shattered because one cannot talk to his friend, this belief that there is something wrong with him over shadows him and the only way out is to bring his friend down instead. The message of the film over all is also being used as the tagline and social media hashtag, love without labels is lesson that these teenagers almost learn towards the end, or at least they will take steps to understand, whereas Franky is already ahead and is open to more possibilities.
Writer and director Keith Behrman has created a complex characters without the clichés of the coming-of-age genre tropes. Franky, played superbly by Josh Wiggins, is, from the start of the film, curious about his emotions and questions whether or not its right to be with his girlfriend simply because he doesn’t feel strongly about her. His feels guilty for something that he didn’t even do, he seeks out friendship without double intention and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Only when he speaks with his father (a brilliant turn from Kyle MacLachlan), after seeking reconciliation for his own actions, in a short touching scene does he start to mend himself, physically and emotionally. Here is a character that we can be sympathetic towards, suspicious of and hope that he is more than ‘ok’ by the end of the film.
Dir: Keith Behrman
Prd: Allison Black
Scr: Keith Behrman
Cast: Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann, Taylor Hickson, Kyle MacLachlan, Maria Bello
DoP: Guy Godfree
Music: Michael Brook
Running time: 93 minutes
Giant Little Ones is being screened at BFI Flare 21st – 31st March