A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Like the book, the movie teaches kids about not judging others by their appearances, about the importance of friendship (no matter how unlikely it is), and the power of speaking up and asking for help. They may also learn about Nicholas Nickleby, the Charles Dickens book that Sophie is reading when she's taken by the BFG.
Strong themes of courage, perseverance, and empathy. Shares the book's themes about friends coming in all shapes and sizes, how even one or two individuals can make a difference, and how everyone needs someone to believe in them. Sophie and the BFG's friendship also explores how friends should stand up for each other, and their interaction with the queen reveals how you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help, even if it seems daunting.
Positive Role Models
The BFG and Sophie are wonderful friends to each other. They protect, listen to, and help each other overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The queen believes Sophie and the BFG and agrees to help them. Sophie is courageous and determined.
Violence & Scariness
The movie's tone is dark, and there's plenty of peril/danger. Sophie -- who's an orphan (she says bluntly that her parents are dead) -- is snatched away by the BFG and immediately taken to Giant Country (she screams the whole time). After she's kidnapped, Sophie believes she's going to be eaten as the Giant sautees dinner (and she lands in the skillet). She later realizes she's safe with him -- but the other nine giants are indeed human-eaters. These giants hunt for Sophie and destroy the BFG's home. They also hurt him in several tense scenes that put Sophie (and the BFG) in precarious positions as she attempts to hide from them. The BFG plants a nightmare in Sophie's mind when she sleeps just so she'll believe him about how truly bad the other giants really are. In one scene, a truck hits a giant's private parts. At one point, a giant nearly does eat Sophie, but she's saved at the last minute. The British Army invades Giant Country and subdues each of the "bad" giants. Several references to the last child who stayed with the BFG, whom the other Giants found and ate.
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Insults like "you're a disgrace to giants," and some silly potty humor as a special fizzy drink causes everyone (even the queen) to "whizzpop" (fart).
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Products & Purchases
Nothing in the movie, but there's tie-in merchandise for all Disney movies, so expect apparel, games, toys, and more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men who appear drunk walk around the streets below the orphanage, and Sophie yells at them. The giants drink a green fizzy drink called frobscottle, in which the bubbles go down instead of up. Although it's supposedly made from fermented snozzcumber, t's not alcoholic, seeing as Sophie is allowed to drink it (and so does the queen of England).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The BFG -- which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Roald Dahl's beloved fantasy book -- is about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and Sophie, the young orphan he first snatches and later befriends. The movie has a dark tone, and tense moments of peril and danger punctuate the story from the beginning. After Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is kidnapped, she expects the BFG (Mark Rylance) to cook her for dinner, and later she's hunted by the other giants, who love to eat children; these giants are destructive, loud, and scary when they're on screen. In one scene, the BFG plants a nightmare in Sophie's mind when she sleeps just so she'll believe him about how truly bad the other giants really are. Death is also referenced in not-so-subtle ways: Sophie bluntly states that her parents are dead, and the BFG alludes to another human child he used to be friends with who was clearly eaten by the other giants. While the scares are enough to keep the littlest audience members away (or at least with their eyes firmly covered), this tale about discovering friendship and family in the unlikeliest places also offers sweetness, humor, and heart -- as well as themes of courage, empathy, and perseverance. (Oh, and some fart jokes.) To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The magic, fantasy, and eventual pure sweetness between the two central characters is nothing short of heartwarming. The BFG has many opportunities to highlight what being a good friend is all about -- and what it means to have strong values. Sophie, a wise-beyond-her-years orphan, is played incredibly well by Barnhill. She's fully developed as a character, but her maturity is lovingly balanced with her regular, child-like ways. This is a welcome change, since "mature kids" in movies and TV shows can often seem sassy and unrelatable.
The visuals live up to director Steven Spielberg's reputation; as always, he has a knack for bringing fantastical elements and creatures into everyday life. As for the BFG himself, Rylance will win audiences over from his first (of many) teary-eyed smile. His giant warmth and compassion, his bumbling language and missteps, and his grit and determination will leave every kid -- and parent -- wanting a BFG of their own.
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.