“Little Boy” is a movie you must not miss! It has a stirring theme—the love of a young boy for his father—and a dramatic plot all the way around. Jakob Salvati is marvelous as Pepper Flynt Busbee, also known as “Little Boy.” The young boy has a close relationship with his father (excellently portrayed by Michael Rapaport). They call each other “Partner,” although the kids at school call Pepper “midget” and other derogatory names due to his small size. Pepper and his dad’s motto is, “Do you believe you can do this?” They hang out all the time until his dad, James, has to leave for World War II. The family’s heart aches as they say good-bye to their dad/husband.
The drama unfolds as Pepper hears a sermon about having “faith the size of a mustard seed” and what that faith can do. He consequently has a conversation with Father Oliver (nicely played by Tom Wilkinson), who challenges him to do good deeds to strengthen his faith such as visiting the sick or a prisoner. The prisoner he visits winds up being his older brother, London (also nicely played by David Henrie). London can’t seem to stay out of trouble and he has it out for a Japanese man named Hashi Moto (strongly played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). He calls him “Jap,” as do other people in the city who blame all Japanese people for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
But Pepper develops a relationship with Hashi Moto, though the Japanese man is hesitant at first, a bit suspicious of Pepper’s sincerity. All the while Pepper’s mother, Emma (superbly played by Emily Watson), grieves silently when her husband is declared missing in action, probably taken as a prisoner of war. Pepper refuses to give up hope that his dad will return home. He looks at the sea and declares his faith over and over. He becomes a symbol of hope for the people of O’Hare, although some of his peers mock him for a time. Eventually news arrives that is not what Little Boy hoped for. Will bad news have the final say? This movie will stir emotions, and the stunning ending is worth watching the movie. “Little Boy” features wonderful performances, a simple yet gripping story, and deals with themes of prejudice, love, and keeping faith. We are more than pleased to award “Little Boy” our “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve plus. It’s a winner!