Giant Little Ones is a very sweet movie about confronting and dealing with homophobia as a teenager. If that reads like I’m patronizing the film, I don’t mean to be. This is an important coming-of-age story with a unique voice, and filmmaker Keith Behrman should be proud of his accomplished indie. It’s a hopeful movie that will hit home with audiences.
Two seemingly straight high school friends, Franky and Ballas (Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann), find their friendship challenged when they engage in foreplay under the influence of alcohol on the eve of Franky’s birthday. Though they’re drunk, they are still in a sound frame of mind which suggests that maybe they’ve been suppressing new feelings for each other. And while that may be the case for one of the guys, it’s a curious evening of experimentation for the other. Writer/director Behrman is careful not to directly label any of his characters, while also subtly hinting at the people they may become. Word travels fast through the hallways of school and through social media, and the immediate reaction from peers is to heckle or shame. Ballas, unprepared for this situation, leans into the arrogance to fit in to the crowd, while Franky reflects and eventually learns how to accept and love his own identity no matter what his sexuality may be.
The film is presented through a soft scope that treats the personal conflicts with an encouraging essence that everything – in due time – is going to be alright for these characters in their lives. It’s perhaps a bit too naïve with its “after school special” presentation, but the gentle harmony in Giant Little Ones is a warm embrace supported by powerful, mature performances. It still treats homophobia as a serious issue, but Behrman wants to remind us of how much love there is in the world.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie