Produced By: Leo Severino
Written By: Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and Pepe Portillo
Starring: Jakob Salvati, David Henrie, Kevin James, Emily Watson, Ted Levine, Michael Rapaport, Ben Chaplin, Tom Wilkinson and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Miami premiere of a film called Little Boy. I’d seen the trailer about a week prior, but I don’t think I truly knew what to expect going into the premiere.
Let me start by saying that my niece, who is 10, and three of her friends, who are 11 and 13, came to the premiere and were ecstatic to meet the star of the film, Jakob Salvati, beforehand. Jakob was such a proper, sweet boy who has a bright future ahead of him. He and his father allowed the girls to take a picture with him and they all raved about how sweet (and adorable) he was.
With that being said, the film started after an introduction by the writers and directors that couldn’t have shown any more passion for this project.
Little Boy is an adorable family film that follows 7-year-old Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) and his quest to bring his father back home safely from World War II. Pepper’s older brother, London (David Henrie), was refused entry into the army due to being flatfooted, so their father, James Busbee (Michael Rapaport) took his place. Pepper was extremely close to his father and was rightfully devastated to hear that his “partner” was heading to fight in the war. When Pepper and London’s mother, Emma (Emily Watson), receives word of James’s disappearance, Pepper decides to do whatever it takes to bring his father back. Having grown up reading magic Ben Eagle comic books with James, Pepper attends a live show with the magician and is called up on stage. Facing ridicule among his peers, Pepper is reluctant to try moving a bottle with only his mind, but he raises his hands and remembers his father and Ben’s words…all he has to do is believe he can do this. The bottle moves, causing Pepper to believe he can do the impossible. There are subtle religious undertones throughout this film, as Pepper seeks the help of those at his church. Father Oliver hands Pepper a list of tasks to complete, which includes befriending the enemy; a Japanese man named Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). As the film goes on, Pepper learns to accept help from the one person he’d least expect. While he sets off to complete these tasks, he finds faith in himself that he can do the impossible, so long as he truly believes it. There are ups and downs that will absolutely bring tears to your eyes as you see this young boy whose only goal is to bring his true hero home.
For a film which has a 7-year-old actor on the screen for 98% of the time, the casting was spot on. Jakob Salvati was amazing and the supporting cast was equally great. If you have a heart and if you can find the underlying message behind it, this film is a must see. It’s a project that everyone involved is obviously very passionate about, which makes it that much better. So go out and support this heartfelt movie and spread the word! For a movie like this to make four middle school aged girls cry and keep discussing it afterwards…it’s a win in my book!
Definitely deserves 4 out of 5 stars! ★★★★
Little Boy will be released in theaters on April 24, 2015 and runs approximately 86 minutes.