"Little Giants" (PG) is a sports movie that speaks to children, and they like it. Adolescents will probably find the film a bit silly and too predictable.
Danny O'Shea (Rick Moranis) has always played second fiddle to his brother, Kevin. In their small mid-western town, Rick is still considered a football hero and is selected as the coach for the Pop Warner junior football team. Becky O'Shea (Shawna Waldron) is Danny's daughter and the best player in town. To her dismay, Uncle Kevin won't let her on the team because she is a girl. Becky convinces her father to coach a competing team so that she can play.
Danny puts together a team with the leftovers and those who didn't try out. They are not an athletic bunch, with the exception of Becky and Junior (Devon Sawa), but they have spirit and determination. After two weeks of intense practice, Danny's Little Giants play Kevin's Cowboy's in the big game. Not only are the players' hopes riding on the competition, but the two brothers have bet their businesses on the game.
"Little Giants" touches on some important themes for children. The first is the portrayal of sibling rivalry between Danny and Kevin. It is so intense that the football game is no longer fun for them; it is a war. Most children with siblings who are close in age have felt the pangs of rivalry. Often, both children feel the rivalry, even though one appears to be the "star," like Kevin. A positive aspect of this film is that the rivalry is resolved. It give children the message that one day, they too may resolve those feelings and be able to work cooperatively with their siblings.
The second theme involves the role of females in our society. Becky's desire to play football portrays womens' struggle for equal opportunities. The film shows girls that if they are persistent, they too may be able to have the opportunities usually offered only to boys. On a more personal level, Becky is confused about the role that she wants to have. She considers herself a tomboy and wants to play football with the boys, but also develops an attraction to Junior. She thinks that she must be a cheerleader to attract him. "Little Giants" demonstrates to girls that, like Becky, they can participate in a nontraditional female role and still remain attractive to boys.
Little Giants" presents some problematic situations. It is another "no mother" film which seems to be so popular lately among film-makers. Children may be reassured to hear from their parents that most mothers do not leave their families or die. The film also presents a safety issue that bears discussion. The "Little Giants" team walks on the railroad tracks, and Danny crosses the tracks while just missing a fast moving train. Parents should tell their children how dangerous those actions are in real life.
"Little Giants" will entertain your children with a story of underdogs who fight for a triumph and just might win.
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