Every year there seems to be one film that features a child in a dysfunctional family operating at the edge of fantasy and reality. See for example, A Monster Calls and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Giants follows young Barbara, who struggling to deal with her mother’s terminal illness, has developed an elaborate fantasy around different types of giants she must defend the town from.
She befriends new girl Sophia (sporting a fine Keeping Faith yellow raincoat), whilst suffering the attentions of bully Taylor. School psychologist Mrs. Mollé (hooray for Zoe Saldana in a non sci-fi role), offers the sympathetic adult role.
This is all pretty standard coming of age fare, but it is lifted above made for TV movie by two factors. Firstly, the decent, and serious rendering of the giants. Although there is never any real doubt that it is part of Barbara’s fantasy, by depicting them with good faith it places us in Barbara’s head. Secondly, the absolute conviction Barbara has to her fantasy, complete with scholarly research, complicated traps and an earnestness that brooks no debate. All delivered with assuredness and charm by Madison Wolfe.
It may not be the most original movie, it bears a lot of resemblance to A Monster Calls, and it’s a bit cheesy in places, but if you’re suffering from excessive ennui, it is a welcome dose of humanity.