The BFG: Mixed feelings while watching Steven Spielberg film

Disney's THE BFG is the imaginative story of a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (Oscar (R) winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Directed by Steven Spielberg based on Roald Dahl's beloved classic, the film opens in theaters nationwide on July 1.

Disney’s The BFG came out on Friday and I have mixed feelings even after viewing it on the big screen over the July 4th holiday.

When the movie premiered at Cannes recently, a journalist asked director Steven Spielberg about his thoughts on author Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitic views during a press conference following a screening of the film. The question starts in the 13-14 minute mark.

On answering the question:

“I didn’t. I wasn’t aware of any of Roald Dahl’s personal stories. I was focused on the story he wrote. I had no idea of anything that was purportedly was assigned to him, that he might have said.

“So, no. This is a story about embracing our differences. The values in the book and in the film, those are the values I wanted to impart in the telling of this story.”

That being said, Spielberg did an interview with The New York Times and said he didn’t research the author and said it is “no excuse.” Spielberg goes on to say that he would not know what he would have done had he known about the comments made by the writer. That’s reasonable.

My feelings on anti-Semitic actors are very well known. I will not see any movie starring Mel Gibson, or directed by him for that matter. At the same time, I have the greatest of respect for Steven Spielberg but Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitic views are troubling. Dahl was a self-admitted anti-Semite. How somebody like Spielberg completely missed that is beyond me.

Personally, I can’t watch any of the movies based on a Dahl book in the same light again and since it was only recently that Dahl’s views resurfaced, I won’t see any future films based on his work.

Directed by Spielberg from a screenplay by the late Melissa Mathison, The BFG stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, and Bill Hader.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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