Guest Review: LITTLE (2019)

Directed By: Tina Gordon
Written By: Tina Gordon and Tracy Oliver
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) is the quintessential boss bitch. She is rich, powerful, and micromanages every detail of her life – all the way down to how many centimeters away from her bed her slippers are placed every night. She rules her company with the same iron fist, decimating carbs and fun whenever they try to wriggle their way into the office. A little girl, apparently unimpressed by boss bitchiness as a life philosophy, magics Sanders back into her teenage self (teenage Sanders is played by the iridescent Marsai Martin). Sanders is trapped in her teenage body until she can learn the important lesson that will restore her back to the life that she built for herself.

Like most comedies these days, Little suffers due to the perfection of its own trailer, but it is still a solid movie. Some of the best jokes lose their punch because timing was tighter in the trailer (which is a flaw that extends past general comedic timing – several scenes drag in pacing) and there are some very cute scenes that just do not belong in the movie. In one such scene, Issa Rae (who plays Jordan Sanders’ assistant April Williams) and Marsai Martin slay a duet in a fancy restaurant. It is incredibly fun to watch, but makes no contextual sense, so it completely took me out of the movie.

Overall Tracy Oliver and Tina Gordon Chism created a beautiful thing in Little. The writing is light, funny, and still packs an emotional punch every now and then. The women characters are powerful, creative, and both excel in a tech field. The romantic interests of both Jordan and April are sexy, supportive, self-sufficient, and eager to prove their worth to the women in their lives. These are characters that are clearly built to give something for girls to aspire to, rather than the usual two-dimensional characters that often populate children’s movies or rom-coms.

One of my favorite things about Little is the visual storytelling. April wears fun, bright clothing, and Jordan is completely chic as a grown up and a fashion explosion as a child. The contrast between April and Jordan is non-verbally expressed time and time again through clothing, make-up, and even their homes. We learn almost everything that we need to know about each character when we initially see April in her small, colorful studio apartment while she’s talking on the phone to Jordan, dressed in silks pajamas and roaming the halls of her swanky condo.

However fun it may be, Little ultimately tries to do too much. Jordan is supposed to learn how to tone down her aggression, April is trying to grow a backbone, and Jordan’s new pre-tween friends are also supposed to learn an important life lesson somewhere in the midst of all the action. Viewers miss the fun of it all, as the movie makes sure to check off each step of the hero’s journey for all five characters.

When April meets the child version of Sanders, she jokes that this kind of thing does not happen to people of color. Personally, I look forward to the day when that joke makes no sense. Eventually there will be enough fantastical movies like this that have burst free from their historically caucasian box and our entertainment as a whole will be better for it.

Normally, I would suggest waiting to see a movie like Little once it is available on your favorite streaming service. It is a perfect movie to watch at home on a rainy afternoon when you’re free to pause and replay at your leisure. But. I also want Hollywood to know that Americans are here for this kind of movie. Is Little a perfect movie? Hell no. But it has a sweet ending, it is full of great jokes, and you will fall in love with Marsai Martin if you have not already.

So do us all a favor and go see this imperfect little gem in a theater. The future of American cinema thanks you.

Have you seen ‘LITTLE’? Well, what did you think? 

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