Little Big Mouth is a Netflix Original South African production directed by Gray Hofmeyr and Ziggy Hofmeyr starring Naymaps Maphalala, Amanda Du-Pont, James Borthwick, and Brady Hofmeyr. Just when rockstar-wannabe Siya (Naymaps) hits rock bottom, he meets Luke (Hofmeyr) and his mother Mel (Du-Pont). Out of compassion and maybe a little bit of spite towards her grumpy father, Frank, Mel lets Siya stay in their extra room for a few nights while he gets back on his feet. But as they start to fall in love, Luke and Frank are having none of it.
This is a sweet little rom-com. It’s not particularly groundbreaking or novel. In fact, it’s really as simple as it gets. Girl meets bad news with a heart of gold; her loved ones hate him, but she’s growing resentful of her current partner, and he’ll do anything to win the whole family over. It’s simple and to the point, and that’s why it’s perfectly good. Not every movie needs to be revolutionary or utterly unique. It just needs to entertain, and Little Big Mouth certainly does that.
All four of the characters are totally loveable from the first minute. Siya is a total sweetheart who sometimes makes bad choices but quickly regrets or remedies them when it’s pointed out. Mel is her own person, allowed to be mad and yell and feel and love despite what other people are trying to get her to do. Luke is absolutely adorable and a fairly good actor. And Frank, while I can’t help but feel some of his grumpiness against Siya has racial undertones, he’s a harmless grandpa who you can tell is full of love too, despite the crusty outside.
Luke especially stood out, not because he was an impressive performance particularly, but his lack of typical conformance with gender stereotypes felt refreshing for a modern film to portray. It wasn’t entirely outside of the box, this was still a major motion picture, but from his clothes to his array of interests and belongings, it did feel at least further outside the box than any leading kid I’ve seen in a movie of this caliber yet. I also appreciate that Frank, who the boy is very close with and himself is a very manly man, had zero to say about Luke’s choices or interests. In fact, they have some matching clothes at points, and it’s absolutely adorable.
Something else that stands out as pretty swell quality is the music in the film. Siya is a rocker, so aptly, the film incorporates several vocal and guitar performances that consistently land. The musicianship is strong and never awkwardly placed in the film. I only wish there was perhaps one additional song rather than repeating the same few as many times as they were repeated. Lyrically, they were a bit on the nose, but in the context of a sappy rom-com, this never really bothered me so much as it just felt obvious.
I’m not a huge fan of stories that harm characters or display their conditions like addictions as means to other characters’ developments. It’s one thing when consequences harm oneself, and they learn from it, but the instances where both of these happen in Little Big Mouth didn’t feel like they paid off for any growth well enough to warrant the harm or stigma they generated. In fact, some early sequences depicting homelessness felt a bit upsetting, just in how they were shown in a specifically negative light.
In all, though, if you’re looking for a simple and sweet film starring attractive people, a cute kid, and a grumpy old man, this is totally the place to go. It’s not too long, not too serious, and full of sweet and funny moments to make it well worth a view.
Little Big Mouth is streaming now on Netflix.
Little Big Mouth
- Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
If you’re looking for a simple and sweet film starring attractive people, a cute kid, and a grumpy old man, this is totally the place to go. It’s not too long, not too serious, and full of sweet and funny moments to make it well worth a view.