I Kill Giants (2017)

  • Time: 104 min
  • Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Thriller
  • Director: Anders Walter
  • Cast: Zoe Saldana, Madison Wolfe, Imogen Poots


Twelve-year-old Barbara Thorson flees from reality, leaving in the imaginary world of fantasy and magic, where she fights with giants. Her family does not understand her, peers do not like her, and she irritates teachers. And only recently moved here Sofia, her same age, trying to make friends with her.

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  • There’s been no dearth of films in which children experiencing trauma retreat into a fantasy world (The Wizard of Oz, Pan’s Labyrinth, A Monster Calls, to name but a few), yet there is something about I Kill Giants that is particularly persuasive and affecting.

    Based on the graphic novel by Joe Kelly, who also penned the screenplay, and J.M. Ken Niimura, the film revolves around a teenage girl named Barbara (Madison Wolfe), who has appointed herself the guardian of her community. She believes that there are monsters out there and, by maintaining her daily routine of setting traps in the forest, at her home and at school and creating deadly potions, then she can hunt, find and kill those giants. Of course, she knows she looks and sounds crazy to the others around her but Barbara doesn’t care. If being the protector means being ostracised and bullied and not letting people in, then so be it.

    Not that there aren’t people who try to break through her shell. There’s her older sister Karen (Imogen Poots), who makes constant bonds with her but is under the pressure of running their seemingly parentless household, taking care of her siblings, and trying to hang on to her job. There’s Sophia (Sydney Wade), her new neighbour from Leeds, who embraces Barbara’s eccentricities and is eager to befriend her. Then there’s the school counsellor Mrs. Mollé (Zoe Saldana), who is determined to connect with Barbara and understand the root of her behaviour.

    As with others of its ilk, I Kill Giants uses fantasy as a framework for a tale about attempting to comprehend the darker elements of reality. There are many who will respond to Barbara’s plight – who, at some point, hasn’t felt like an outcast or been affected by a painful event in their life? Yes, Barbara may be too armoured against those who only want to help and comfort, but there is something remarkable and even inspiring in her brash behaviour and the pride that she takes in being different. Wolfe makes Barbara a deeply flawed and wholly relatable figure, and the young actress has excellent support from Wade, Poots and Saldana, all of whom make the most out of their slightly underwritten roles.

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