Adam Nicholas’ Big Girl is essentially the story of a six-year old called Amy who is bizarrely brought back to life in the form of a middle aged man. The film is a dark comedy of sorts with a light-hearted feel to it. Ceri Mears playing Flowers/Amy is brilliant, his friendly Welsh accent somehow adds to the overall humour levels. Nicholas’ quirky film certainly entertains at various stages, OK it’s obviously not going to be hailed as a classic and inducted into the BFI’s National Archive; but this is a burgeoning Welsh filmmaker with some interesting ideas at the start of a hopefully productive career.
Big Girl opens with two rather large middle-aged men ‘going to work’ on a man held captive in a house. Flowers and Johnny are brothers who work for their kingpin father Lynford, Flowers is calm and casual as he repeatedly stabs their victim, at one point asking Johnny, “What should we do tonight?”. He clearly cares little for the blood stained victim lying on the floor.
Flowers’ personality is typically brutish, appearing subordinate to his father’s wishes, he does not question the violent tasks he has to carry out. But this all changes once Amy’s brain is put inside his head. The change in personality offers great comic value because Mears physical appearance couldn’t be further from that of a sweet six-year old girl, his hulking frame lumbers about confused as to what is happening to him.
The film does offer some genuinely touching moments, it’s the classic thin line between tragedy and comedy that Nicholas attempts to traverse and at times he does so with some skill. The writer/director offers up some interesting ideas, such as how a small child would react to the criminal circumstances the characters operate within; understandably fear is evident on the part of Amy added to her longing for home and the embrace of her parent’s arms.
The surgery scene might well be a homage to the horror/gore genre, fake blood and brains are the order of the day here, where Edmund the doctor adds to the fun with an unconventional medical procedure. Big Girl is a film that could have been made in vastly different ways, it could be very sad and heartfelt but it’s the black comedy humour that ultimately won me over and is well worth a watch for it.