Some movies leave you changed. They make you catch your breath, wipe your eyes and be so grateful that you saw them. Their memory lingers long after the final credits and a part of it stays with you as you travel for a while.
Little Boy is one such movie.
From the moment Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati – Escape from Tomorrow) is born into the world, he and his dad James (Michael Rapaport – Hitch) have an instant connection, and as Pepper grows, they become ‘partners.’ Partners as pirates, partners as cowboys, partners in every adventure their imaginations take them on in the games that they play.
With their motto: “Do you believe you can do this partner?” this father/son team overcome great imaginary hurdles and battles, and these words are set to have a greater strength than they ever could have predicted.
Due to some unknown cause, Pepper has always been small for his age and is given the nickname ‘Little Boy’ by the local bullies. It quickly catches on until that is what he known as throughout the small town of O’Hare. Constantly being picked on for his size, Pepper’s only friend is his dad. With World War 2 on their doorstep, Pepper’s brother London, is unsuccessful in joining the army due to having flat feet, so his dad is sent in his place.
The separation is extremely painful for the family, and as Pepper desperately seeks a way to bring his dad back from battle, he struggles with his own battles right where he is. The local bully is as big as Pepper is small, but Pepper’s determination is surprisingly much stronger than anyone thinks.
At a live show with magician Ben Eagle, Pepper is invited on stage and astounds the crowd as well as himself, when he moves a bottle across a table supposedly by sheer will. The following Sunday, Pepper is enthralled by the message given at church about the mustard seed. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move a mountain. If Pepper could only get enough faith, he could bring his father back from war!
Pepper is determined to find out more, and visits Father Oliver (Tom Wilkinson – Batman Begins) to discuss what it means to have faith. Father Oliver gives Pepper an ancient list telling him that if he can do each task on the list, his faith will grow. Pepper gets right onto it.
The list includes: feed the hungry; visit those in prison; visit the sick; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; bury the dead. Father Oliver adds one more task to the list: make friends with Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa – Pearl Harbour), an elderly Japanese man who has lived in the town for many years.
This would prove to be a great challenge. With America at war against the Japanese, Hashimoto is hated by the townsfolk, including Pepper who had thrown a rock through his window. To make friends with Hashimoto is by no means an easy task. If Pepper is to grow his faith, he can not have the slightest bit of hatred in his heart.
As Pepper undertakes the tasks on his list, his faith begins to grow, and if faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, then surely it can bring his dad back from the war.
This tiniest of boys who is used to being discarded and ridiculed by most people, manages to gradually change the heart of a town with some remarkable events taking place, and becomes somewhat of a hero. But not everyone is changed, and hatred for Hashimoto continues from certain people, leaving Hashimoto fighting for his life.
One task is left on Pepper’s list: Bury the dead. Pepper’s dad is lost at war and Hashimoto is fighting for his life. Will Pepper be strong enough to handle this last challenge? Well, you should definitely mark this on your calendar so you can find out.
Universal Studios delivers a beautifully crafted piece of artwork in this potentially timeless classic. Little Boy is likely to leave you feeling inspired, moved and hopeful, while feeling like your heart has been ripped out of your chest, twisted around and shoved back in…but it is so worth it!
Rebecca Moore 2016 ©