The BFG - Movie Synopsis & Plot
The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.
Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows. But Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Says Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see Queen Victoria (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
A fantasy that bucks the trend of modern kid movies--i.e. frenetically paced and fast with jokes and slapstick humor--The BFG instead draws you in with atmosphere and heart. Spielberg takes his time building his world of giants and developing the relationship between the title character and Sophie, a refreshing change of pace.
For the most part.
The BFG looks great, the visuals rich, creative and immersive. More importantly, the performances are excellent; Spielberg has always had a gift in finding child actors and has done it again with Ruby Barnhill. Mark Rylance is terrific as well, and the two share great chemistry on screen—important given that most of the movie involves the two of them talking with each other.
Still, the movie drags at times. With a simple plot stretched over nearly two hours, The BFG is a bit of a chore at times, never truly boring but not exactly captivating, either. For children with short attention spans (read: most children), it will either enthrall them with its magical world or leave them squirming in their seats. Spielberg should have cut the film down by 10 or 15 minutes to speed things up, his unwillingness to tighten the story a detriment to its overall entertainment value.
On the positive side, kids and adults alike were giggling loudly through a dinner sequence set in Buckingham Palace, one of the funniest scenes you'll see all year. Leave it to Spielberg to bring the fart joke back, and in a classy way.
The BFG is an imaginative wonder, but its occasional slowness keeps it from being an instant classic. Nonetheless, there is plenty to like and, with a little patience and a touch of magic, the BFG will be regarded highly for decades to come.
Read our BFG, The movie review »