Throwback Thursday Film Review: Big (1988)

Happy Thursday everybody! Thankfully it’s Friday tomorrow, which means it’s nearly time for the weekend. As part of my throwback Thursday feature, I will be reviewing older films, which I am really excited about. For my first throwback I thought I would review a film that has such a feel-good quality to it with comedy and entertainment for the whole family.

Josh Baskin is your average 12-year old boy, played by Academy Awarding winning Tom Hanks, who, like everyone at some point in his or her childhood, wishes to be big. We can all remember being told, “you’re too young” or “too small” to do something we really wanted to do when we was little. Mortifyingly for him, he was rejected for being too small on a carnival ride in front of the girl he liked. In a huff, he wishes to be big on the mysterious Zoltar machine. The next morning he discovers he has aged overnight and is now in his future adult form. With his best friend Billy as his only ally, he is forced to grow up, get a job and wait until he finds the next Zoltar machine. As he waits, he unintentionally finds what could be the love of his life and has to choose between staying and living his adult life, or going home to his friends and family and experiencing everything teenage-hood has to offer.

I didn’t realise the huge and significant change in Susan’s character as I was just a naïve pre-teen myself. From when we first meet Susan at the beginning of the film right the way through until the end, there is a massive change in both her looks and personality. With such a loveable and charismatic performance from Tom Hanks, I feel Elizabeth Perkins is often overlooked and undervalued.


When we first meet Susan, she is very stern, poised and pulled together. Her smart clothes, the way her hair is pulled back tightly and her sharp make up all reflects this. Slowly, as the film moves on and we see her start to care for Josh, her image and behaviour changes. The way she talks softens and her composure loosens. She starts wearing her hair down which is a sign of her feelings for Josh, how he makes her feel comfortable and relaxed. Her make up is more natural, peachy. Women can especially relate to how Susan shows her feelings, even men. We all put our guards up to people we meet, it’s only until feelings become involved, whether it be love or friendship, that we start to let go and show who we really are. This is what I believe Penny Marshall intended to show, and Elizabeth Perkin does it beautifully.

Fun Fact: When Tom Hanks was playing Josh, they had David Moscow, who plays young Josh, on set and Tom would watch how he played the part and then mirror the way he spoke, his body language and behaviour into his own performance.

Big is definitely an all-time favourite film of mine, and perfect for families to watch together as Christmas approaches. Of course, I haven’t forgotten about the ice cream song! How could I? I’ve had it stuck in my head since I watched the film for the millionth time on Tuesday. Click on the link below to watch Tom Hanks brilliantly perform it, you know you want to!