I should've watched Groundhog Day today, but I've seen it pretty recently, so I dug a little deeper into my VHS collection (yes) and pulled out yet another one of my favorites: Big, which I've been thinking about this past month. It's definitely one of those movies I watch differently now that I'm older. I was a lot closer to 13 when I first saw it. It appealed to me as an adventure story. And now, almost 20 years later, I'm closer to the age of "big" Josh played by Tom Hanks. I still sometimes feel, as do many, like someone who went to sleep a kid one night and woke up an adult. But of course now I also identify with the girlfriend character who looks at her life a little more closely after meeting this kid-in-an-adult's-body or laughs at the proposal, toward the end of the movie, to come and be a teenage girl again. It's also of course a story about coming to New York. The scene where Josh spends his first night in the "St. James Hotel," listening to the screams and gunshots from outside -- this was the '80s, after all -- reminded me of that pang of uncertainty and loneliness I had on my first night in my new city apartment. There's also that Our Town-like moment where big Josh goes back to his Jersey neighborhood and looks around at all the joys of being young and realizes it's something he doesn't want to miss.
There's something in so many of the scenes that rings true. It's a bittersweet movie, but that's what makes it realistic, even with its central fantastical element. That's also why I'm not surprised at this bit of trivia from IMDB: "The original ending for this film included a scene in which Josh is in class, and a "new girl in school" is brought into the classroom. Her similarity to 'Elizabeth Perkins' and a reaction shot from Josh imply that this is Susan, having also become young. The scene was cut after poor response in test screenings."