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Have you ever had a really big secret?  

Year: 1988 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

In these times when the AIDS suffering, Nazi conquering, 'stupid is as stupid does', volleyball befriending Tom Hanks goes through life collecting awards as if they were supermarket reward points it's easy to forget that in the late 1980s he was of the finest slapstick actors of his generation. And rising above films such as Turner And Hooch, The Money Pit and the wondrously daft Joe Vs The Volcano is the clinching evidence of his comic talents: Big.

Big is the tale of young Josh Baskin who wishes that he could be a grown up so he could do whatever he wants. Before you can say 'nice filmic conceit' the pre-teen has become a middle aged man who heads to the city to see what fun grown ups get up to. Before long he is a successful toy designer, rides in limos and rents a flat the size of the students union. However Josh soon starts to wish that he hadn't skipped the second half of his childhood. For one thing he'll never get to enjoy undergraduate life.

The film is confidently helmed by director Penny Marshall who took over from Steven Speilberg and captures a child like joy throughout the whole film. In order to make the grown-up Josh behave as a child would she got a child actor to perform all the scenes first whilst Tom Hanks took notes. He then used to nail his performance as a child in a full grown body in an adult world.

Hanks is excellent throughout, especially when he misinterprets the flirtatious advances of co-worker Susan and the classic scene where he plays a giant toy store piano. A moment that is now part of film folklore. It is scarcely believable that both Harrison Ford and Robert De Niro were originally considered for the role since Hanks is ideal.

Many may come to see Big as another part of the eighties revival that is infecting everything like a virulent flu strain at the moment. However those who are averse to shoulder pads and Rick Astley should make sure they don't miss out on this comedy classic. You won't find peerless family friendly feature films like this on the cinema screen anywhere else.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)