High school coming out movies are a staple of LGBTQ cinema. Creating a challenge for new films in offering audiences themes and topics not already covered in a wide collective of films already within the genre. However with Giant Little Ones director Keith Behrman brings us a fresh twist on the genre while maintaining a high school movie aesthetic.
Franky (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas (Darren Mann) have been close friends since childhood, spending the majority of their days together. However, friendships are tested and changed following an alcohol fuelled night. Where burgeoning masculinity and teenage experimentation mix to create explosive results for both young men.
Early in proceedings Behrman dispatches with the usual motifs of the high school coming out story. Opting for a more contemporary exploration of sexuality in modern youth culture. While reflecting the changing landscape of teenage experience in the 21st Century. In turn exploring the barriers still affecting a diversity of young people in living their lives unrestrained.
Giant Little Ones is at is strongest when exploring the turbulence of youth. Alongside the intensity of emotions associated with friendship, peer groups and family. And when tackling these themes, performances shine with realism, humour and sincerity. With Josh Wiggins capturing the confusion, anger, fun, exploration and sexual ambiguity of youth. While Darren Mann’s Ballas exudes the fear and threat of a delicate and confused masculinity. Meanwhile both young men find themselves surrounded by strong female characters as their journey progresses. With Ballas’ sister Natasha (Taylor Hickson) acting as a bridge and barrier to their friendship. Her own life a complex set of public judgement, pressure and isolation. Meanwhile, a cameo performance from Kyle MacLachlan offers gravitas in exploring issues of identity and family.
Giant Little Ones defies the normal tried and tested tropes of the high school coming out movie. Providing us with a film in which the fluidity of sexuality and experimentation in youth is centre stage. While equally never seeking to label its characters, by exploring the different coping mechanisms each character deploys. Humour is interlaced with drama throughout, with scenes between Franky and a close trans friend beautifully constructed and delivered. In a film that not only wears its heart on its sleeve, but also attempts to reinvent the high school ‘coming out’ film.
Giant Littles Ones dares to be different and creative. Equally reflecting the modern journey of sexual discovery for young people in our 21st century world. While never succumbing to stereotypes or easy answers the process.
Director: Keith Behrman