Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

'Little Boy': A Classic Modern Film

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

'Little Boy': A Classic Modern Film

Article excerpt

There are classic films, like the ones on TCM and AMC, and there are modern films. There are few modern classics. "Little Boy," in theaters April 24, could be a modern classic.

The film is set in a Southern California town during World War II. A couple's oldest son, London Busbee (David Henrie), is drafted but is barred from service because of his flat feet. The father, James Busbee (Michael Rapaport), goes instead and his youngest son, Pepper Flynt Busbee, 8, beautifully played by Jakob Salvati, is devastated. Pepper and his father have a very close relationship and almost from the moment his father leaves for war, the child is plotting ways to get him safely home.

After being enthralled by a magician named Ben Eagle (Ben Chaplin), Pepper tries magic with some hilarious results.

In church he hears the priest quoting Jesus that if one has faith as tiny as a mustard seed, one can move mountains. Pepper goes to a seed store, finds a mustard seed and takes it to the priest to learn more. When the priest is frustrated by Pepper's questions, another priest, Father Oliver (Tom Wilkinson), takes over. Father Oliver gives Pepper a list of what he must do as part of a process he hopes will end the war and bring his father home. He is instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit someone in prison -- with one addition. There is a man of Japanese ancestry, named Hashimoto (Cary- Hiroyuki Tagawa). Though he is a U.S. citizen, everybody in town hates him because of the propaganda directed at Japan following its attack on Pearl Harbor. Father Oliver tells Pepper to make friends with him. Seldom has racism been dealt with more effectively and with a happier outcome.

There are two endings to the film and I won't spoil it by revealing what they are, but if you are not crying in sadness over the first and shedding tears of joy over the second, you may want to have a doctor examine you to see if your heart is where it should be. …

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