(spoiler free)

After the success of last years ‘Bridge of Spies’ Steven Spielberg reunites with, now Oscar winner, Mark Rylance to take on Roald Dahl’s beloved classic, ‘The BFG’. I can’t say that I am a massive fan of this story, sure I watched the animated version as a child but I still felt rather indifferent to the whole thing in the lead up to its release. Coupled with the fact that I didn’t enjoy ‘Bridge of Spies’ I wondered if Spielberg had lost his touch for me.

Let’s talk about the main man himself first, no not Spielberg, the BFG. What a really wonderful character to watch and to be the centre of this story. Mark Rylance was brilliant here, he nails the fantastical language created by Dahl for his novel, giving the BFG one of his most endearing qualities. Anytime that he is speaking it’s a joy to listen him spew the skewed words that he comes out with and makes what would be very normal conversations incredibly entertaining. Alongside Rylance the other lead star is Ruby Barnhill who plays orphan Sophie. Barnhill was also great, easily convincing the audience of Sophie’s old head on young shoulders personality. Thanks to a confident performance from her the chemistry that the pair have is really special and a treat to watch. The special effects employed here also help with this as there is no doubt in the mind of the viewers that the BFG really is a giant and he towers far above Sophie. The detail that is created in his design is so intricate and the quality that is on show here means that any potential barriers to the chemistry are easily overcome.

The narrative is at its strongest when it focuses on the relationship between the BFG and Sophie and thankfully this is the case for the majority of the film. There is a shift in the tone in the final act of the movie, this makes room for more comedy. This comedy does work but it results in a disruption to the flow of the film which was really good up to this point. This shift is essential for the overall narrative and it is enjoyable so it’s not really a negative.  I think what I enjoyed most about this movie though was that the main character development was that of the BFG and not Sophie. Through this the film looks at various themes including bullying, bravery and overcoming the past. There are really solid messages included here and they are portrayed in a natural way rather than a preachy one. So whilst I was slightly concerned that Spielberg had lost his touch I was blissfully proved wrong. Spielberg manages to sweep his audience up into the magical world of ‘Giant Country’ full of beautiful animation and heart-warming narrative.

Probably the best family film of the year so far ‘The BFG’ was a delight. Rylance embodied the friendly nature of the BFG so well making the audience wish he would snatch us from our beds at night and take us dream catching. Barnhill is perfect for creating the character necessary for the BFG to bounce off and delivers a lovely dynamic between the pair. The narrative does run into a bit of bother in the final act of the movie but the enormous heart that the film has easily makes up for this. I wish I had the imagination of Dahl’s to make up a wonderful phrase to describe the film but thankfully I don’t have to as the BFG has that well covered.

Rating – 9/10

Question: Will Spielberg ever make a classic to the level of ‘Jaws’, ‘Jurassic Park’ or ‘Raiders’ again?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.


4 thoughts on “The BFG

  1. Just saw this today, and I’ve never been more torn over a kids film. The specifics, the craft, everything you mention here is entirely right. But the between lines and the wider-reaching questions have me a little conflicted, and I feel they’ll be hard to address until I write about them myself.

    Great review as always Hamish! Glad you really enjoyed this one, because it certainly doesn’t deserve the dismissal its getting at all. It might just be one of the finest made live-action kids films I’ve seen in a long, long time and I wholly support your view here.

    • So intrigued, as always, to read your thoughts on it. I got completely swept away by it all, kinda made me feel like a kid again. Just really loved the character of the BFG. It definitely helped that my expectations were rock bottom. Haven’t read many reviews of it yet but quite baffled by the not so positive response. Would love to know if younger audiences are enjoying it. Thanks Lee, look forward to reading your review, get on it!

      • Couldn’t agree more, loved the BFG and the spectacle really does bring you crashing back into pre-adolescence. I’ll spare your anticipation, might be another day or so before the stars align for this one, but looking forward to your thoughts! 😀

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