(2015) (Jakob Salvati, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa) (PG-13)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: An eight-year-old boy follows a local priest's advice about how to strengthen his faith all in hopes of bringing his father back home from World War II.
- It's the 1940s, and the small coastal town of Ohaire, California seems idyllic in its Norman Rockwell type setting. There, James Busbee (MICHAEL RAPAPORT) runs the local auto shop with his son, London (DAVID HENRIE), who's set to join the Army to fight in World War II. But when he's rejected due to his flat feet, his father decides to take his place, much to the chagrin and worry of his wife, Emma (EMILY WATSON), and especially their young son, Pepper (JAKOB SALVATI).
He's an eight-year-old boy who doesn't really have any friends outside of his father with whom he shares various flights of fancy, including imagining himself as comic book hero/movie star/magician Ben Eagle (BEN CHAPLIN). Unlike the hulking local simpleton, Teacup (ABRAHAM BENRUBI), Pepper is very small for his age, and thus is often subject to bullying by various kids, including Freddy (MATTHEW SCOTT MILLER), the son of the local widowed physician, Dr. Fox (KEVIN JAMES).
Another person who is harassed by others is Hashimoto (CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA), a Japanese-American who's lived in the U.S. for decades but was recently incarcerated in an internment camp due to his ethnicity. Now released, he must contend with the likes of locals such as Sam (TED LEVINE) and others who don't like him living there.
Hashimoto's only ally is Father Oliver (TOM WILKINSON), the local priest who determines that pairing him up with Pepper will do the boy good. He add that to the list of things Pepper needs to do in order to strengthen his faith. Father Oliver wants to give the boy hope all while putting his faith in God to bring James back home from the war. Believing that will work, Pepper sets out to accomplish all of those things on the list, including reluctantly becoming friends with Hashimoto.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- It's possible some might be interested since it features a young boy as the protagonist, but the subject matter and storyline might not sound that enticing to others.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
- For some mature thematic material and violence.
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