The Good Fat Giant, a small but strong Spielberg [critique]

The Good Fat Giant
Metropolitan FilmExport

Minor and downtempo, the latest Spielberg is above all an ultra-endearing self-portrait of the filmmaker as a giant of the cinema.

France 2 will broadcast this Sunday BGG, a.k.a The Good Fat Giant, imagined by Roald Dahl and brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg, in 2016. A funny film, not totally successful, but which offers a captivating self-portrait of its director. Moreover, two years later, Spielberg will take advantage of the adaptation of another novel, Ready Player One, to play once again with his own status as a creator … an autobiographical film, which will be directly inspired by his childhood on which he has been working for 20 years!

With Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg signs a phenomenal self-portrait [critique]

A “little” Spielberg? It is the adjective that comes up most often in conversations about The Good Fat Giant (The BGG), Spielby’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, presented yesterday out of competition at Cannes. Because it is indeed not always very pretty to watch, because it often fishes for lack of rhythm, the film has already been placed in the category of miniature Spielbergs, riquiqui – which is of course ironic for a film where it is only a question of gigantism, games of scales, and which tells the meeting between an orphan as high as three apples and a funny man of 7.50 meters high.

So yes it’s true The BGG flirts with the kitsch vein of Spielberg, who takes the opportunity to reconnect in joy and good humor with his taste for scato-prout humor. From there to compare it to the purge Hook, it is a (giant) step that we will not take. The film having been written by the screenwriter ofAND, the late Melissa Mathison (“our Melissa”, as it is written in the end credits), we were no doubt unconsciously hoping for something as powerful and unifying as the vintage Amblin 82 mega-box. The BGG would rather be placed on the side of the sublime and very twisted HAVE : it’s a sick tale about the long journey of an unattached hero, an intrepid film where aesthetic road trips do not weigh very heavily in the face of his sometimes devastating emotional power, increased by pleasure for the really gigantic blow that sometimes he gives.

Dany Boon is the voice of the Big Giant of Steven Spielberg

Spielbergiens of all stripes will debate for a long time the imperfections of the second part of the film: is the scene at Buckingham Palace too long? Island of the Giant Wicked, is that a Guantanamo metaphor? Isn’t that great man plotting political ploys a new Lincoln? Are there too many fart jokes or not enough? While the fan-club will reverse engineer the film, we can already bet that the kids will love it. And the first part is sufficiently miraculous to justify the existence of the film to itself. An hour in weightlessness, out of time. Not much happens there, except a long conversation between Sophie and the giant (Mark Rylance, always extra), whose job is to walk in the London night to “blow” dreams to sleeping children. She and he gauge each other, discuss, get to know each other. Six months after the very mellow Bridge of Spies, Spielberg continues to slow down. He will celebrate his 70th birthday next December, he will soon be the age Ford was at the time of Chinese border. Since Lincoln, he entered the “autumnal” phase of his work. None of his recent films make it a secret. And it doesn’t take long for the viewer of the BGG to understand the dimension of self-portrait at work here. The giant (of the cinema), it’s him, the man bigger than life who has dedicated his life to “distributing” dreams, and who has the gift of hearing the intimate emotions of children around the world (we do not interpret: this is literally what the film tells). The visit to the “world of dreams” is an enchanting moment, a magical haiku and a perfect synthesis of Spielbergian “craftsmanship”, like a poetic manual which would give a concrete understanding of how dreams work. How the dream works. To start whining in the thirtieth minute of a Spielberg is a bizarre, unprecedented emotion. Once embarked on this slope, that of the storyteller’s outstretched hand towards his friendly audience, that of the filmmaker admiring his own reflection with an extraordinarily acute awareness of his place in history, impossible to be choosy. in front of the film. The BGG is standing there, in front of us, a little awkward and worrying with his protruding ears, his badly combed hair and his eyes of infinite sadness, in which we nevertheless want to drown. It’s him, Spielby. The Good Fat Genie.

Frédéric Foubert

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