‘The BFG’ Is ‘One of the Standout Movies of the Season’ and 8 Other Enchanting Reviews

Roald Dahl adaptation starring Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill has a 73 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes


“The BFG” is Steven Spielberg‘s latest project to hit the big screen, and critics are enthralled by it.

Describing the movie as an “utter delight” and “visual magic,” as well as complimenting Mark Rylance‘s performance as the Big Friendly Giant as one of the “best performances of the year so far,” critics have given the film a solid 73 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

And TheWrap’s Steve Pond agrees about Rylance’s stellar performance.

“And the best thing about ‘The BFG,’ it turns out, is the BFG himself, a collaborative creation of Dahl, Spielberg, actor Mark Rylance and a team of special effects whizzes who bring vibrant life to a massive, genial oaf with a penchant for epic malapropisms,” he wrote.

“The BFG” stars Rylance and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, who gets spirited away by the BFG when she spies him through her orphanage window on the London streets in the wee hours. But unlike his fellow giants, he has no interest in eating her.

The Roald Dahl adaptation will hit theaters this Friday.

See nine of the best reviews below.

Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News:

“It takes both a wizardly hand with effects and an honest one with performances to pull off a believable fantasy with two such differently sized characters. Spielberg brings a tangible sense of reality to a magical place where the BFG catches and catalogs dreams that whiz by in bright, shimmering colors. Rylance, with an irresistible mix of wizened age and eternal youth in his look, makes us believe in his mission to make the world a better place by sorting, mixing and bottling these dreams.”

Neil Pond, Parade:

“Director Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of author Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book about a big, friendly giant — and the young orphan girl he befriends — comes to the big screen with humor, heart and a big, friendly message about the magical, mystical power of dreams.”

Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times:

“When the movie slows down to allow Rylance and Barnhill to converse, it finds its magic. Rylance, digitally rendered from motion-capture performance, finds a charming, gentle rapport with his young co-star, and his lilting wordplay (a television is a ‘telly telly bunkum box’; language is ‘a twitch-tickling problem’) creates its own music. And the third act, in which we learn of the complications that can ensue when a queen (Penelope Wilton) invites a giant to the palace for breakfast, is a delight. (Hint: Make plenty of toast.)”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle:

“This is one of the standout movies of the season, combining some lovely acting with extraordinary special effects. … In the last 40 minutes of ‘The BFG,’ the palette brightens and all the elements come together. The movie becomes inventive in new ways and even cheery. It’s a true delight.”

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:

“The best scenes take their time: I loved the massive brunch prepared by the queen’s staff for the BFG’s introduction to the highest high society, though the fart jokes (the book had them, more selectively) recall the live-action ‘Flubber’ and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Up and down, down and up the movie goes, and inarguably it’s 20 minutes longer than Dahl’s compact story requires. Yet I was so tickled and moved by Rylance’s interpretation, highly emotional in surprising ways, the problems didn’t matter much to me. For once, underneath all the motion capture folderol, the key performance really does feel like a full, real, vital performance.”

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News:

“‘The BFG’ is a family-friendly fantasy about unlikely BFF’s. Which lands it squarely in both the Disney and Steven Spielberg (‘E.T.’) wheelhouse. Based on the late, great Roald Dahl’s 1982 megabestseller (more than 37 million copies sold, and counting), the film follows an orphan and a Big Friendly Giant and is fun and likable, occasionally even delightful. Melissa Mathison‘s screenplay preserves the book’s wit, weirdness and darker undercurrents. (Got enemies? Call the Queen!)”

Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International:

“Though somewhat meandering, Steven Spielberg‘s ‘The BFG’ benefits from one of the best performances of the year so far, courtesy of Mark Rylance‘s Big Friendly Giant.”

Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine:

“Full of such quietly inventive visual magic, it’s perfectly content to simply revel in the stuff dreams are made of.”

Scott Mendelson, Forbes:

“This might shock you, but that Steven Spielberg guy made another good movie. I know, I know, I can’t believe it either. But yeah, ‘The BFG’ is an utter delight. It’s a charming, intelligent, and witty little adventure movie with strong special effects work in the service of a most unassuming story. Ironically enough for a film about a bunch of giants, the film is refreshingly small in scope and scale, telling a fairly straightforward story with relatively small (ish) stakes. It’s a character play, a clever and ever-changing variation on the classic ‘kid and his/her new dog’ template that gets better as it goes along and refreshingly rubs its nose in the traditional ‘Save the Cat’ structure. Yeah, it’s a keeper.”