A few weeks ago when the children were out of school for the day, we sat down to watch a movie together. As I was searching Netflix for something that looked appealing and worthwhile, I stumbled upon this movie Little Boy. It appeared to be safe enough for all family members, and it had 5 stars, so I decided to give it a try. Little did I know then that it would top any other movie I have seen in a very long time.
Despite what the mainstream critics say, I thought this movie was incredibly moving, inspiring, touching, and not at all offensive---and we are Catholic. The synopsis can be found here at Wikipedia, but I'll try to give you just enough information to leave you intrigued. Seven year old Pepper is small for his age, but his father has always built him up to be as powerful and capable as a super-hero. When his father is shipped away to fight in WWII, Pepper wants more than anything to bring his father back home. Influenced by his older brother, he believes that his father's deployment is the fault of all the Japanese. There just so happens to be a Japanese-American in their town who is hated by most of the residents, especially Pepper's older brother. A series of events occur, and Pepper hears this Gospel verse at Church: "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."---Matthew 17:20. Inspired by that and an awe for a certain magician/super-hero, he is filled with faith that he can bring his father back home. Whenever he speaks to his parish priest, however, he is told this will not happen as long as he has hatred in his heart. He is then encouraged to become friends with the Japanese-American, Hashimoto. Along with this, he is also given an important list to follow, which happens to be the Corporal Works of Mercy:
To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbour the harbourless;
To visit the sick;
To ransom the captive;
To bury the dead.
It is humorous at times to see how Little Boy completes these merciful deeds and crosses them off his list, and it is inspiring and touching to see how he does indeed try to move mountains with his faith. His determination, fortitude, and extreme faith end up affecting all those around him. He continues on even when others make fun of him and tell him it is hopeless. At one point near the end of the movie, he is faced with what he believes is a choice to let go of one dream for the sake of a friend. Just when you think the movie's plot has ended, there is a final twist that leaves you inspired and full of hope.
Little Boy was released in 2015 and is now on DVD and Netflix. I would definitely watch it again as long as I had a huge box of tissues beside me. This is a tearjerker almost from the beginning, but I seem to cry over these movies more easily than the rest of my family. I was moved by the film and found it refreshing over the massive amounts of shallow, superficial, cynical tripe that dominates the screen these days. It also prompted some good historical discussions about the plight of the Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. My children were unaware of their story, for the most part. Needless to say, I highly recommend this movie as long as you're aware that tissues are probably in order, and if you're like me, your eyes might be puffy for a good hour or so afterwards.