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MOVIE REVIEW

Little

also known as “La piccola boss,” “Pequeña… otra vez,” “Pequeño gran problema,” “Şefa a intrat la apă,” “Малката голяма работа», «Мелкая»
MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for some suggestive content.

Reviewed by: Ruth Eshuis
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive to Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Young-Adults
Genre:
Romance Fantasy Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
April 12, 2019 (wide—2,667 theaters)
DVD: July 9, 2019
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

What would you do differently if you had a second chance to grow up?

the price of success

peer pressure

bullying / bullies

BULLIES—When someone picks on my child, should I tell him to fight back or turn the other cheek? Answer

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Regina HallJordan Sanders
Issa RaeApril Williams
Marsai MartinLittle Jordan Sanders
Justin HartleyMr. Marshall—a teacher on whom 13-year-old Jordan Sanders has a crush
Tracee Ellis RossHomeGirl
Tone BellPreston
Mikey Day … Connor
JD McCrary … Isaac
Tucker Meek … Devon
Thalia Tran … Raina
Marley Taylor … Stevie
Eva Carlton … Caren Greene / Jasmine
See all »
Director: Tina Gordon Chism—“Peeples” (2013), writer of “Drumline”
Producer: Will Packer Productions
Legendary Entertainment
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Universal Pictures. Trademark logo.
Universal Pictures

Similar movies:13 Going on 30” (2004), 17 Again (2009), “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008), “Freaky Friday” (2003), “Big” (1988)

There’s little to love in this strange comedy, which is promoted as ‘irreverent’ and contains huge amounts of misbehavior and abuse.

Audiences are immediately confronted with the tantrums of adult Jordan (Regina Hall), a nasty businesswoman whose world is starting to crumble. She shouts and manipulates her way through life, while others bear the brunt of her unhappiness.

Like many before her, a small child wishes this woman would become “little” again so that she can feel what it’s like for a victim and be taught a lesson. Amazingly the wish is granted… Adult Jordan wakes up the next day in the body of 13-year-old Jordan (Marsai Martin), but in present time. Here begins the weird ride as Jordan and her assistant April (Issa Rae) each come to grips with how to grow up and become a confident leader—without being a bully.

Positive content

There are a few healthy aspects to this film, which could be built on in discussion with young people:

  • The film shows that the daily reality of being rich and powerful often isn’t very nice or good (e.g. “It must be lonely to be that tough.”)

  • It raises issues of lingering regret and pain from our school years, that can affect us negatively a long way into adulthood.

  • Friendships improve, as characters learn to use please and thank you (“old-school manners”), honesty, courage and perseverance.

  • Part of a biblical proverb is quoted: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22).

“Little” also spends much energy on identity: “Everyone says you have to grow up to know who you are, but they’re wrong: kids know exactly who they are. Then life beats it out of you.” This reflects the tendency of most people to become less than their potential because of the effects of sin in the world and in each of us.

The good news is that our Creator knows who He designed us to be, so He can easily re-create us to each be the whole and balanced person we’d love to be. God’s Son—Jesus—has won for us a new life that is far beyond our own ability to achieve or create, and it even includes full forgiveness for the awful things we have done to people and to Him.

This same Jesus taught His followers that it’s healthy to be “little” in attitude: humble, kind and forgiving. As we see:

”He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:2-4

Negative content

All main characters are primarily concerned with getting themselves ahead. This is shown in greedy consumer choices, objectification of others’ bodies and mistreatment of those who show vulnerability. The film’s makers have also sadly chosen to score laughs by use of insults and many other types of abuse (details are listed later). This is especially troubling because dozens of child actors are used.

In addition to the above, other strong and serious concerns include:

  • Excessive product promotions, especially tempting for those who struggle with alcohol or sweet treats like donuts and bagels.

  • Portrayal of a 13-year-old girl behaving in romantic and sexualized ways, trying to attract her male teacher. This crosses into dangerous territory that could create difficulties for adults who don’t want or need to view a young person in that way. Of course, it may also influence teens to take on some of that behavior or to begin a new fantasy involving an adult. Let’s not forget that in reality the actor who plays Jordan is currently 14 years old and may now attract unwanted attention for the remainder of her teen years, so please pray for her.

  • The parents are depicted telling their injured 13-year-old to become rich and successful because, “Nobody bullies the boss,” and the teen adds, “…because I’ll bully them first.”

  • Making peace with one’s past is portrayed as though it doesn’t need to include confession, atonement or forgiveness.

  • The consequences of rejecting authority structures are unseen and ignored, to the point of being ridiculous.

Beware—“Little” is also full of triggers for viewers’ own painful memories from school. Many scenes are difficult to watch, even for those who haven’t been bullied. A discerning Christian would not be able to ENJOY this type of ‘entertainment’ because it revels in sin and hurt of many kinds.

Final thoughts

Despite its potential to have been a great film, “Little” disappoints by going way too far with its ‘fantasy comedy’ and bizarre behavior. Many teen girls will go along to the cinema with expectation of a light comedy and will instead find an uncomfortably inappropriate experience which will stir up negativity for them. If anyone reading this is a teenager, I’d like to encourage you that adult life doesn’t have to get so ugly—unlike the many adults around us who forever carry unresolved hurts from their school days, living as Christians we are able to enjoy the honesty, freedom and joy of healing as we grow up out of difficult childhoods.

In the end, the decision to combine a serious anti-bullying message and exaggerated humor has hit a predictably sour note. The trailer is exciting, and some acting is marvelous, but, overall, the film drags, and the casting, editing and story-line all lack consistency. There are only just enough great moments to keep a movie-goer in their seat, but you will still leave offended and disappointed for one reason or another.

At the showing I attended with a friend, many viewers sat silently during moments that were intended to be humorous. Using a teen in such a sensual starring role is not a wise choice, and I fear for the young actor’s well-being as she will doubtless have attracted some of the wrong kind of attention through this role (Please pray), as well as influencing girls to seek affection in a dangerous manner.

I trust that you will find a better movie option for your young loved ones.

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” —Ephesians 5:11-12

Warnings and potential triggers

  • Sex: Heavy— • stripping and foreplay dances in the presence of a child • inference that while hugging a man a 13-year-old girl initiates intimate touch • heavy sexualization of children—teen grabs her chest; wears a shirt that draws attention to chest; 13-year-old lies provocatively; crawls and dances suggestively on a counter and table at a restaurant • insults regarding lack of sexual activity • story of virginity lost during high school • crude expression for becoming an adult • sexually transmitted diseases • fornication implied (off-screen) • a woman is called a ‘slut’ • 3 main males objectified for their bodies (e.g., “good butt,” woman rubs a man’s bare chest to say ‘hi’ instead of shaking his hand) • “I care about your *ss” • “eye-candy” • “white meat” • “lovechild”
  • Alcohol/Drugs: Heavy— • Deliberate temptation • underage drinking • adult has to repeatedly stop child from drinking • drinking by the bottle, rather than by the glass • combination of alcohol with pills • bottles, glasses and pills beside bed • ‘deceased crackhead’ • apartment minibar full of liquor and spirits • same behind a restaurant counter, plus beer taps • many other patrons drinking alcohol • child attempts to drink a bottle of wine, and Child Services representative witnesses her holding then hiding the bottle • at a bar a child orders a scotch on the rocks • a driver on a drug high (inferred it may be from marijuana) whose car seeps smoke • over-reliance on anti-anxiety pills
  • Profane language: Heavy— • “J*sus” (2) • “What in the black J*sus?” • “Oh my G*d” (6) • “Oh G*d” (2) • “Good L*rd” • “d*mn” (4) • “h*ll” (4)
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy— • “What the f…” (unfinished) • “b*tch” (2) • “cr*p” • “*ss”(6) • “grown-*ss” (2) • “broke-*ss” • “b**bs” • “Look whose balls just dropped!” • “crackhead” • “chocolate Hogwart” (brown-skinned witch) • “shut *p” • “crazy little Chucky doll” (reference to horror movie villain) • “Being me s*cks”
  • Other: Heavy— • frequent shouting • boss treats assistant as a servant/slave • revenge themes • residual trauma • parenting issues • social media themes (e.g., 13-year-old friends shown ‘how to get likes’ by dressing in cool clothing, wearing make-up and flirting with the camera) • “Tinder and Christian Mingle” • “One wrong move and you lose all your followers” • suicide • social suicide • disabilities (e.g., stuttering) heavily mocked • racism • “These are the most talented… and the others we couldn’t block” • public spanking of a teen (including, “She needs a whoopin’… I need a belt”) • disregard for the law, rules and authorities • obvious product placements and consumerism (luxury sports cars, Fortnite, clothing and accessories) • dieting struggles and gluttony • phrases such as, “I just got divorced. So I’m totally desperate,” “Committing is overrated,” and “Now I can win and still be me.” • “Sad? Like how your parents felt the day you were born?”
  • Violence: Heavy— • mainly verbal, as noted below, and various threats • a woman and teen attack each other in a car park, including 5 spanks on the rear • reckless driving • a wrecking-ball is thrown towards a teen and sends her flying backwards, breaking an arm and leg • beverage thrown in a valet’s face • order to body-slam someone • violent fall down metal bleacher steps
  • Crime: Moderately Heavy— • Dozens of assaults • a child is offered to ‘come over for a drink’ • reckless driving at high speed • many injuries (physical and emotional) to all ages • workplace bullying • schoolyard bullying • neglect of a child • truancy
  • Nudity: Moderately Heavy— • man wears minimal skin-tight boxer shorts (front is not seen) • much cleavage shown by customer in a restaurant
  • Occult (fantasy-type): Moderate— • Magic is a key part of the story • curses • mention that someone ‘turns into Satan’ • “black girl magic” • vampires • “just plain evil” • cannibalism reference

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative
Negative—My last review of “Jumanji-Welcome To The Jungle,” was met with some pushback and criticism for saying that there were some subtle and overt references to the LGBTQ agenda, but this movie is no different.

From an entertainment perspective, this movie is slow and almost intolerable. My wife wanted to leave, but we were with our kids. The acting is either overly done, contrived or just bad. There are a few mildly funny parts, but overall, not very entertaining.

The plot (a child inhabiting an adult’s body—see “Big,” “Like Father Like Son,” “Freaky Friday,” “Shazam!”) has been used many times, maybe too many. So if you’re going to use it, it should be used wisely and with lots of humor. Unfortunately, that’s just where this movie bombs and where my main issue is with the movie. Although Jordan is a 13 year old child, the adult in her continues to act like she’s a sexually promiscuous woman! Young Jordan Sanders is portrayed in very sexual ways in the various scenes:
  • When enrolled in school she (and her assistant April) make comments about how handsome the male teacher is and she makes suggestive remarks to him in the classroom.
  • When Jordan’s boyfriend visits her apartment and finds her as her child self she makes seductive eyes at him and makes a pass.
  • In a restaurant scene she lays on the bar holding a bread stick singing an adult themed song in a sexually provocative manner.
My 14 year old daughter made the comment to me that those scenes made her very uncomfortable.

If anyone doesn’t think these things are done on purpose, think again! After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s was a book written explaining how America would be “desensitized” by putting LGBTQ characters in every movie. Sometimes it’s a subtle cameo and sometimes it’s an overtly LGBTQ character. Go back and look at movies from the 90’s and forward and see what you find. Some recent examples are “Frozen” (the cameo of the innkeeper’s husband and family), and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (the female character inhabiting the body of Jack Black’s character—Transgenderism).

This movie, I believe is a subtle affirmation of what many in society and especially in the LGBTQ community are affirming as the next up and coming “right” in the sexual revolution; that Pedophilia (now called Minor Attracted Adults) is just another “sexual orientation” and that children are sexual beings and have the right to express themselves! This affirmation has already been made publicly (see B4U-ACT) [an organization apparently intent on normalizing pedophilia]. As I said, the reference in this movie is subtle, but there’s no doubt that “children are sexual beings” is exactly the message that is meant to be portrayed!

Don’t watch this movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
RD, age 50 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.