He calls himself the Big Friendly Giant, and he is the only soul populating the rocky seaside Giant Country who doesn't live the life of a voracious cannibal. His only companions are the children he occasionally snatches from London. Alas, with the rest of his kind preferring the taste of humans, they don't always make it. Based on Roald Dahl's 1982 children's novel, "The BFG" is a forlorn family film about a friendship that can only last in an unconventional manner. As directed by Steven Spielberg (2011's "War Horse") and written by the late Melissa Mathison (1982's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"), the picture is a quaint and talky two-hander for the majority of its running time, but not without tinges of that old Amblin magic. Said whimsy, however, is often overshadowed by a melancholia its makers aren't fully prepared to acknowledge or deal with head-on.
There is no period more mysterious than the 3 a.m. witching hour, a quiet time which 10-year-old insomniac Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) embraces as her very own. On one particular early morning, the unexpected occurs: from her orphanage's bedroom window, she spots a giant (Mark Rylance) prowling the city streets. When BFG catches Sophie spying on him, he scoops her up and spirits her to his cavernous home in the faraway Giant Country. At first frightened of her abductor, the young girl eventually realizes how gentle-hearted he is, an outsider who yearns for acceptance and love. Determined to put a stop to the other bullying, child-nibbling giants, Sophie forms a plan so wild it just might work. Success will come with a price, though: BFG will have to find the courage to reveal himself to the outside world.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review