A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Appreciate your childhood while you're young, and don't lose the ability to find the fun and wonder in everyday life once you grow up. Integrity and empathy will bring you more happiness than lies, selfishness, and greed. On the other hand, the film blurs lines of consent.
Positive Role Models
Josh learns why it's better to enjoy childhood than it is to rush into being a grown-up. His perspective helps those around him rediscover their own happiness. Susan starts out as cold and businesslike but eventually remembers why fun and joy matter.
The film centers around a White male character, but -- as directed by Penny Marshall and co-written by Anne Spielberg -- its portrayal of romantic lead Susan is slightly more nuanced than in most 1980s romcoms. In minor roles, Black and East Asian characters briefly appear as bank tellers, police officers, students, etc. But during a scene in a sleazy motel that's meant to depict New York City as dangerous, with gunshots and screaming heard, a neighbor loudly argues on the phone in Spanish, implying that Latino men are "scary."
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Violence & Scariness
Two men fight, resulting in a bloody nose. Other scenes are played for comedy: After Josh changes into his adult appearance, his mom chases him with a knife, not realizing he's her son. Gunshots and screaming are heard from a window in a sleazy motel. Josh is sometimes scared/worried.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman unknowingly dates a 13-year-old in the body of an adult man, which raises ethical concerns. They go on dates and make out, and sex is implied after she unbuttons her shirt to reveal a bra (he gently cups her breast), and they kiss. A man pulls down his pants to reveal briefs (played for comedy). Boys and men occasionally talk about women like sex objects ("See that girl over there? Say hi to her, and she's yours. She'll wrap her legs around you so tight, you'll be begging for mercy.").
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"F--k" is used once. Characters say "s--t," "damn," "bastard," "hell," and "a--hole." In a brief scene, a man angrily mutters to himself, "kill the bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Several brand names are used and mentioned. Household items include Pepto Bismol, Nyquil, New York Giants memorabilia and clothing, a Pepsi vending machine, etc. Characters attend a Yankees game. Times Square ads include Toshiba, Sony, Coca-Cola, etc. Toy company executives discuss Mattel, Fisher-Price, Transformers, and GoBots.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Susan smokes frequently. Adults (including Josh, in his adult appearance) drink alcohol at parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Big is a 1980s fantasy romcom starring Tom Hanks as a 13-year-old boy named Josh who makes a wish that he was bigger -- and magically wakes up in the body of an adult. Strong language includes one use of "f--k," plus words like "s--t," "a--hole," and "bitch." A grown woman dates Josh, assuming he's an adult, which raises various ethical concerns. They go on dates and make out, and sex is implied after she unbuttons her shirt to reveal a bra, and they kiss. A main character consistently smokes cigarettes, and adults drink at parties. A child who's forced to grow up too quickly is exposed to corporate life, sex, and other adult matters. A fistfight results in a bloody nose, and gunshots and screaming are heard through a window. The film encourages viewers to have fun, tell the truth, and be kind to others no matter your age. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This heartwarming, funny movie does something inventive with the familiar plot of someone getting magically transplanted into someone else's body. Big is grounded by a strong, earnest performance from Hanks, who would go on a few years later to win back-to-back Oscars for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). The scene in which Josh spends a night alone in a seedy New York City motel, fidgeting until he breaks into tears, makes his situation gut-wrenchingly believable. He's not just imitating the mannerisms of an awkward 13-year-old -- there's a profound innocence about him that's both vulnerable and irresistibly charming. David Moscow, playing the young Josh, is a terrific counterpart for Hanks, and Perkins looks appropriately bewildered by it all as the reluctant love interest. Penny Marshall directs with an uncharacteristically subdued hand, employing no camera tricks or overblown music. She lets the performers and the sharp script do the speaking, and the result is this memorable late-1980s hit.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.