Little Boy (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Boy (2015)

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Critic Consensus: Well-meaning but manipulative on a horrifically misguided scale, Little Boy is the rare faith-based film that many viewers may find legitimately offensive.

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LITTLE BOY is a powerful and moving film about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The heartwarming story will capture your heart and lift your spirits as it reveals the indescribable love a little boy has for his father and the love a father has for his son. Set in the 1940s, LITTLE BOY is an instant cinematic classic that captures the wonder of life through the eyes of a 7- year-old little boy. Written and directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde, LITTLE BOY highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity. (C) Open Road

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Cast

Emily Watson
as Emma Busbee
Jakob Salvati
as Pepper Flynt Busbee/Little Boy
Kevin James
as Dr. Fox
David Henrie
as London Busbee
Tom Wilkinson
as Father Oliver
Michael Rapaport
as James Busbee
Ben Chaplin
as Ben Eagle
Toby Huss
as Colonel Bob
Eduardo Verástegui
as Father Crispin
David Ury
as Sir Pent
Lukas Behnken
as Leonard Rice
Travis Flory
as Soda Fountain Clerk
Masashi Odate
as Japanese Colonel
James MacDonald
as Recruitment Sergeant
Lorna Scott
as Nurse Barbara
Rick Mora
as Kid Falcon
Yoshio Iizuka
as Samurai Master
Masami Kosaka
as Commander Tokyo Joe
Mary Stein
as Martha
Kaiser Johnson
as Colonel Peter Stouff
Zero Kazama
as Wild Tokyo Joe
Eijiro Ozaki
as Masao Kume
Jennifer Cadena
as Army Nurse
Scott Subiono
as Dr. Hesley
Eddie Driscoll
as Newsreel Reporter
Montserrat Espadalé
as Sister Paulette
Chuck Lines
as Prisoner of War
Kenny Davis
as Fisherman #2
J. Skylar Testa
as Army Medic
Americus Abesamis
as Giant Tokyo Joe
Eiji Inoue
as Japanese Soldier #1
Barry Ford
as The Narrator
Robert Noble
as Lou the Bartender
Kenji Nakamura
as Guardian Tokyo Joe
Jared Jacobsen
as Platoon Commander
Alex Trevino
as Wounded Soldier
Brian Takahashi
as Japanese Soldier #2/Japanese Colonel's Guard
Aaron Leddick
as Red Cross Soldier
Tommy Lamey
as Fisherman #1
Andy Geller
as Dr. Foley
Keisuke Akizawa
as Japanese Soldier
Omar Ayala
as Co-Commander Tokyo Joe
Luke Custer
as Prisoner of War
Jack William Pelissier
as Young Pepper Busbee
Tim Staples
as Soldier at Hospital
Tokio Sasaki
as Young Japanese Soldier
Jon Bangle
as Prisoner of War
Cole Hurst
as Kid at Fight
Miguel Angel Varela Fimbres
as Red Cross Soldier #2
Brian Hatch
as Man in Church
Ike Kawaguchi
as Samurai Warrior in Dojo
Larry Dean
as Barber #1
Rene Flores
as Photographer
Mitchel D. Hesley
as Sergeant at Bus
Elija Villegas
as Kid 'Fight!'
Craig Strawn
as Barber #2
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News & Interviews for Little Boy

Critic Reviews for Little Boy

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (21)

The movie seems utterly and sincerely well-intentioned -- which is why what happens in it is so jaw-dropping.

Full Review… | November 10, 2015
BuzzFeed News
Top Critic

Despite boasting several important moral lessons, the period piece is more artificial than a polyester teddy bear stuffed with Splenda and Cheez Whiz - and about as appealing

Full Review… | April 24, 2015
TheWrap
Top Critic

It's meant to be a tale of uplift for faith-based audiences, but instead wears viewers down with a heavy-handed narrative, an overbearing score and voiceover that spells out everything in cringe-inducing, folksy tones.

Full Review… | April 24, 2015
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

Tolerance, World War II history and faith are served up with a sticky sentimental gloss in the family film "Little Boy."

Full Review… | April 23, 2015
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A movie that has the haranguing inspirational tone of a marathon Sunday-school lesson.

Full Review… | April 23, 2015
New York Times
Top Critic

I just wish the filmmakers didn't feel like they had to hit us over the head with all the moral pontificating to get their point across.

Full Review… | April 23, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Little Boy

Here we go again with another film about having faith and all of the crap we expect from these kind of films. except this film is different but still the same as the others. Little Boy is I guess supposed to be another one of those films that is supposed to be a quick Oscar grab. And while this film is enjoyable at some parts, some overused tactics are used in the film, like the bullies, the mom slapping the face of his older son, and the scenes that I guess are supposed t come off as emotional but some of the emotional scenes are kind of awkward and unneeded. But the plot is great and the cast gives a great performance. But the big problems are when the same kind of things you'd expect in a Drama film kind of kill the movie for me. But I still think Little Boy is a good film. If you have a Netflix account, then give this movie a try. You might find something great in this movie.

Aaron Vensko
Aaron Vensko
½

The kiss of death very nearly for most films purportedly with Christian themes. "Please stop," is the best one can manage. Now while this film does have that intent, it needs be said that, for me, this is one example of a work of some subtlety wherein one does not feel accosted by said intent. There are characters here (among the cutouts) that can be embraced and directorial style too. No freshman effort this. Some manipulative, yes, but so are you on practically any date. Get over that.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

I was expecting to bury Little Boy in an avalanche of negativity once I found out a late plot point that made my jaw drop. This inspirational Christian independent film is set during World War II and features a pint-sized moppet, Pepper (Jakob Salvati), whose only real friend is his father (Michael Rapaport), who is now serving in the fight in the Pacific. He's told that through the power of belief he can accomplish great things, and well, he really wants his dad to come home. So through the power of belief he causes... the dropping of the atomic bomb (WWII aficionados will recognize the nickname of the bomb). I was waiting for the moment and amping my sense of dread and moral outrage. A funny thing happened on the way to a nuclear bomb detonation, and that is that Little Boy is a fairly agreeable and effective family film that conveys a message with a welcomed degree of ambiguity and complexity and tolerance. This is a Christian-themed film about the power of belief but at no point does it make explicit whether it's coincidence or the power of Pepper channeling God. Part of Pepper's list of good deeds given to him by a priest (Tom Wilkinson) is to befriend a Japanese neighbor who returned from an internment camp. The movie shows how casual these small-town folk indulge in racism and bullying. The Japanese man is also an atheist and I was legitimately astonished that the movie never makes a judgment about this. He's treated as a complex man with his own system of thinking, and he's not viewed as lesser or wayward because of his lack of belief in a higher power. Little Boy is no God's Not Dead. The melodrama is well paced, the acting is solid if a bit heavy on long bouts of weeping, and the movie undercuts what normally would be the inspirational apexes with harsher reality. The bomb is dropped, and Pepper is initially celebrating until he discovers the total horror of Hiroshima. His "wish" may have even backfired with his father getting further punishment in a POW camp. While I still find the development tacky, I have to reluctantly credit the filmmakers for refusing to pander in a style that removes the complexity and ambiguity of real life. It's still a movie and it still has a rather predictable albeit emotionally earned ending, but Little Boy might just be one of the biggest surprises of this year for me at the movies. Nate's Grade: C+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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