Little Parent Guide
If you enjoy high-intensity cringe-worthiness and sexual content involving kids, you've hit the jackpot with this gosh-awful movie.
Parent Movie Review
Thirteen-year-old Jordan Sanders (Marsai Martin) had a rough time in junior high, being bullied for her intelligence and interest in science. Fast forward two decades or so and grown up Jordan (Regina Hall) has decided that she would rather be the bully than the victim. She tyrannizes over the employees of her tech start up and terrorizes her assistant, April (Issa Rae). However, when she tries to push around the wrong child, she is cursed to be a young girl again. Waking up as her 13-year-old self, Jordan has to return to middle school…but will this experience teach her the lessons she needs to learn?
This is a genuinely painful movie to watch. Bouncing from awkward sexual moments involving an adult in a child’s body to scenes of over-the-top cruelty and unpleasantness, Little is genuinely some of the least enjoyable two hours I’ve spent as a film critic. Nothing is as disturbing as watching a 13-year-old feel herself up and ask where her breast implants have gone. Not only isn’t it funny, but it’s exceptionally cringeworthy. The weird sexual dialogue between her and the adult characters is equally uncomfortable.
The movie doesn’t even get any credit for originality. Not only has the premise has been handled better in other movies – Big, Freaky Friday, 13 Going on 30, to name a few – but it fails spectacularly in this one. While Jordan muddles through the usual journey towards self-awareness typical of the genre, she doesn’t wind up as a particularly pleasant person at the end. While she has improved, she’s still a rude, self-absorbed narcissist. Frankly, it’s not worth suffering through nearly two hours of flat comedy and wincingly bad relationships for such a flat character arc.
Parental concerns are obvious here. While Jordan is, technically, a middle-aged woman, she is depicted and treated as a child for the entire movie, which makes all of the scenes involving sex or alcohol especially uncomfortable. She spends a great deal of the movie trying to get her hands on alcohol, or worse, her eighth grade teacher. While she fails at both, it’s disturbing to watch. Additionally, the violence in this film feels like overkill. The bullies in school aren’t physically violent but are just so unnecessarily intense that it’s distracting. It’s enough to make you wonder if the screenwriter has ever met a teenager.
If Little were the last movie on earth, I’d recommend watching a blank screen. The absence of anything funny should be enough to torpedo any comedy, but the onslaught of awkwardness makes it feel like the cast and crew are deliberately scuttling the ship. If you enjoy high-intensity cringe-worthiness, you’ve hit the jackpot with Little. As for me, I’m afraid of breaking out in zits from the amount of time I spent face-palming during this film. Then again, maybe that will remind me how it felt to be a teenager. It’d certainly do a better job than the movie. It might even be funny.Directed by Tina Gordon. Starring Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release April 12, 2019. Updated July 8, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is Little rated PG-13? Little is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some suggestive content
Violence: A child is struck in the chest with a wrecking ball. A child is shoved into wall. A child and adult spank each other in a parking lot. A child has their ear pierced by shoving an earring through the ear. A woman is verbally abusive to her employees. A woman drives a sports car in a dangerous and reckless manner.
Sexual Content: A character is shown removing their hookup from their apartment. A person points at their crotch and says “You can get this”. A 13-year old feels her own chest and wonders aloud what happened to her breast implants. There are references to individuals having sex in their parent’s cars. A character depicted as being a 13-year-old flirts heavily with an adult character. A character insults another by saying her genitals are “dried up” and “dusty”. A male character sensually strips down to his underwear in front of two other people, one of whom is a child. A character mentions that he has had multiple sexually transmitted infections.
Profanity: There are maybe a dozen uses of mild profanity, a similar number of terms of deity, and one or two moderate profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character is shown with glasses of wine next to their bed. An underage character is shown attempting to drink wine early in the morning, and later attempts to take some at a restaurant. An individual is referred to as a “crack-baby”. An unnamed stranger is shown hotboxing in his car and is shown as heavily stoned.
Page last updated July 8, 2019
Little Parents' Guide
Jordan was bullied in middle school and turns into a bully herself. What other options did she have? Have you been in situations where you have either sought revenge or developed empathy? Why did you choose that particular response?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers spawned the movie by the same name. The book’s protagonist, Annabel Andrews is sick of listening to her mother tell her what to do – tidy up, do homework, look after her brother. But then, one day, Annabel wakes up in her mother’s body.
Body-switching tales don’t always involve a generational change. In If I Were You by Leslie Margolis, 12 year old friends Katie and Melody wind up switching bodies for the summer. This novel is suited for middle school readers, but parents should note there is some flirting and kissing in the story.
Megan Shull’s novel, Bounce, recounts the adventures of 12-year-old Frannie, who wants to be in another family – any other family. When she makes a wish, she bounces into another person’s body and life…every day. Suitable for middle school readers.