Parents' Guide to

Bigger

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Overly sanitized biopic tackles bigotry; mild violence.

Movie PG-13 2018 107 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Bigger is uplifting

Bigger tells the story of the Wieder Brothers as they overcame poverty when young to build an empire dedicated to helping people be their best. The film includes some lessons in overcoming adversity, and in the value of focus. It's really a very touching film because even more than being a rags to riches story - it's a story about he power of someone believing in you. In this case Joe Weider' lovely wife, and his younger brother. It's a love story as much as anything. There are some really great and moving moments in the story, and it is cinematically beautiful. This is not a run of the mill cookie cutter movie, so if you want to see something different - go! The ending is very fun, as Arnold Swartzenegger comes into the film - with an actor who plays him to a tee - as if Arnold were really young again. It's really great when the bad guy goes down - he's a bad person. I have graphic novel movies - families need things with values, and meaning. This has it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This biopic charms with its portrayal of Joe Weider as an exceptionally sincere, focused man, but it also feels overly sanitized. Hoechlin's Joe stammers when he's excited and has high expectations for everyone. He can't help but constructively critique the physiques of people he runs into in churches, on beaches -- anywhere. Bigger's version of Joe Weider is downright disarming in his directness and goodwill. But his first marriage goes by in a blink, and the daughter it produced is scrubbed from the film's history. The timeline of him meeting his second wife is also fudged, presumably to avoid questions of overlap with that first marriage. And Joe's later scandals (usually involving false or exaggerated claims related to his fitness products) are excised from this record. Instead, the film focuses on Joe's single-minded determination to make people rethink the importance of physical fitness in their lives. (Notably, the film was co-produced by Joe's nephew/Ben's son, Eric Weider.)

Details are blown by: Ben was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, but that's mentioned only in passing here. We're told the brothers were best friends, but little of their relationship is shown. What will probably be most remembered about Bigger is how it depicts Joe's mentorship of a young Schwarzenegger, played with gusto by Von Moger. You can almost hear the governator now: "I'm much bettah loo-king than that guy!" Bottom line? If you excuse the obvious factual manipulations, Bigger succeeds as a portrait of a quirky, determined man with good intentions and strong entrepreneurial spirit. Just don't take it as a historical document.

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