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Parents' Guide to

Giant Little Ones

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Wise characters in edgy teen drama; sex, drinking, drugs.

Movie R 2019 93 minutes
Giant Little Ones Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

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Wise and clear-eyed, this excellent teen drama is far better constructed and more nuanced than the usual coming-out story. It skips simplistic labels in favor of a focus on the actual state of being human. Written and directed by Keith Behrman, Giant Little Ones builds a solid base with its characters, each of whom has complex, conflicting emotions, including the so-called bad guys and -- amazingly -- the adults, too. So many other teen movies lazily paint adults as ridiculous in order to direct more sympathy to the younger characters, but there's much to be learned from MacLachlan's superb performance as Ray and Maria Bello as Franky's loving but somewhat clueless mom.

Even Mann's Ballas is understandable, lashing out with rage and fear to feelings he doesn't understand -- or think he wants. Hickson is also powerfully sympathetic, lucidly explaining her personal tragedy, analyzing it, and comfortably deciding what it is that she needs going forward. Especially lovable is Mouse (Niamh Wilson), who potentially identifies as transgender and gives Franky truthful advice about "owning it." But Wiggins carries most scenes with his gentle performance as Franky, holding feelings inside but at the same time allowing them to be known. Giant Little Ones may not be a full-fledged story about what it means to be gay, but its focus on understanding is perhaps just as important.

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