At a carnival, young Josh Baskin (HANKS) wishes he was big-only to awake the next morning and discover he is! With the help of his friend Billy (JARED RUSHTON), Josh lands a job at a toy company. There, his inner wisdom enables him to successfully predict what children want to buy, making the awestruck, naïve Josh irresistible to a beautiful ladder-climbing colleague (ELIZABETH PERKINS). But the more he experiences being an adult, the more Josh longs for the simple joys of childhood.
A perfect marriage of novel but incisive writing, acting, and direction, Big is the story of a 12-year-old boy who wishes he were older, and wakes up one morning as a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks). The script by Gary Ross (Dave) and Anne Spielberg finds some unexpected ways of attacking obvious issues of sex, work, and childhood friendships, and in all of these things the accent is on classy humor and great sensitivity. Hanks is remarkable in the lead, at times hilarious (reacting to caviar just as a 12-year-old would) and at others deeply tender. Penny Marshall became a first-rate filmmaker with this 1988 work. --Tom Keogh