Giant Little Ones (2018)

[7.5]

Two teenaged boys, friends since early childhood, experience a rift after a night of drunken sexual experimentation. One boy questions his sexuality while the other leans into homophobic name-calling and behavior to distance himself from his former friend. Meeting the dilemma honestly helps one boy to move forward, while fear holds the other one back.

Giant Little Ones features some incredible performances from young actors Josh Wiggins and Taylor Hickson. Wiggins plays the boy who ends up bullied after ‘the incident’ and Hickson plays a troubled loner girl who welcomes him to the fringes of high school society. Despite their blossoming heterosexual relationship, Wiggins’ character is still labeled ‘gay’ and rejected by their peers. Further complicating matters is the fact that he wasn’t disturbed by ‘the incident’. Wiggins comes of age through getting to know Hickson’s character and by re-establishing a relationship with his estranged father (Twin Peaks‘ Kyle MacLachlan).

The film involves some superfluous elements that threaten to bog down its messaging. MacLachlan’s character is gay, Hickson’s character has experienced rape and abuse, and one of Wiggins’ other female friends carries around a ‘cock sock’. The ‘cock sock’ leads to a couple of funny scenes, but this combination of subplots gives Giant Little Ones an ambitious socio-political agenda that I just don’t think it needs. That said, writer/director Keith Behrman does a fantastic job dealing with so many volatile, moving parts.

Despite the overload, Giant Little Ones is a superbly made, very well acted, and genuinely moving film about those volatile years when we ‘come of age’. It’s one of few films (and the first I’ve seen) to address sexual fluidity and ambiguity in a sophisticated and sensitive manner. The film basically encourages young people to love who you love, and not to worry about what to call yourself. I think that’s great advice.

With Darren Mann and Maria Bello (NCIS, A History of Violence), who also executive produced.

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