April 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Film Review: “Big George Foreman”

FILM REVIEW
BIG GEORGE FOREMAN
Rated PG-13
133 Minutes
Released April 28th

In this film about a celebrated boxer who was born into poverty, rose to stardom with little experience, and after retiring, ran a youth program to give positivity to kids in need, casting directors Mary Vernieu and Lindsay Graham Ahanonu performed an extraordinary feat as well. They cast a difficult true story about a known celebrity that doesn’t seem forced. Every member of the ensemble embodies their character candidly, which is difficult when portraying well-known contemporary figures. 

Director George Tillman Jr. has framed the establishing backstory as an integral part of the timeline, not a flashback or an afterthought. Tillman is very attuned to young actors, and his portrayal of George Foreman’s youth displays that skill. I had the chance to work with a young actor who starred in Tillman’s touching 2013 film, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. Tillman drew an outstanding performance from young Ethan Dizon and his costar. And it’s not just the kids in “Big George Foreman” who are outstanding. Khris Davis as George Foreman, Sullivan Jones as Muhammed Ali, Sonja Sohn as Nancy Foreman, and Forest Whitaker as Doc Broadus have combined their talents to tell the gripping story of Foreman’s life, which has not been given the attention it deserves, perhaps because he was a fighter more likely to communicate with his punch than his words. Tillman’s fight choreography is excellent, and the camera work and editing are fluid so that you can feel yourself in the fights.

Sohn is an incredible actress and adds an emotional touch as Foreman’s mother. You can also see her as Detective Amanda Wagner in the new series Will Trent. Before she was an actress, Sohn was a trailblazing veteran of the slam poetry movement. She wrote, directed, and co-starred in the film Slam (1998.) Whitaker brings reality to his role as Doc Broadus.

Khris Davis is the heart of this movie as Foreman. Davis spent 5-6 hours a day of intense training learning Foreman’s specific and unique boxing style, having never been a boxer himself. Davis is an accomplished theater actor and realized from this experience that to tell a “fleshed-out story on film…requires immense, immense work and discipline.” He watched a huge library of Foreman interviews, but they were professional, not personal. So, Davis felt compelled to travel to Foreman’s home in Texas for three days just to see what his everyday life was like, how he interacted with his wife and kids, and who he was as a person. 

Davis has about the same natural height and weight as Foreman, so the transformation in the first part of the movie was relatively easy. For the later part of the film, the filmmakers wanted to put a fat suit on him, but he insisted on making the change for real. Davis told them, “’…come back in five weeks. Look at my body. If you think I need a fat suit, let’s put it on.” Davis went from 225 pounds to 275 pounds in five weeks. Watching the movie, I thought at first that this was a different actor, the change in weight and character is so astounding.

What you can feel from Davis is his absolute respect for Foreman. No one can describe how Davis was able to channel Foreman better than Davis himself. As he puts it, “I didn’t become George because I’m not Mr. Foreman. I could never be Mr. Foreman. What I could do was try to give a proper representation of his experience, to emulate some of his essence as best I could…The thing about Mr. Foreman is that he’s like a deep, deep lockbox. You open up one box, and there’s another one. You open up another one. There’s another one.” This explains the depth of the personality that everyone missed during the famous bouts with the much more gregarious Muhammed Ali.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

in Film
Related Posts

Sundance Film Review: DIG! XX

January 26, 2024

January 26, 2024

DIG! XX is the reconceptualized version of one of the most celebrated rock documentaries ever made, DIG!. It is the...

Film Review: A Haunting in Venice

October 3, 2023

October 3, 2023

FILM REVIEWA HAUNTING IN VENICERated PG-13103 MinutesReleased September 15th A Haunting in Venice is the third film adaptation by director...

Film Review: Amerikatsi

September 26, 2023

September 26, 2023

FILM REVIEWAmerikatsiUnrated117 MinutesReleased September 8, 2023 A storyline predominantly based on voyeurism is not a new cinematic concept, and here...

Film Review: Gran Turismo

September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023

FILM REVIEWGRAN TURISMORated PG-13135 MinutesReleased August 25th “I would say I’m obsessed with cars,” says Neil Blomkamp, director of the...

Film Review: Blue Beetle

August 24, 2023

August 24, 2023

FILM REVIEWBLUE BEETLERated PG-13127 MinutesReleased August 18th “Whatever you can imagine, I can create,” is a line spoken by the...

Film Review: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

FILM REVIEWMISSION IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONERated PG-13163 MinutesReleased July 11th The story in this “Mission: Impossible” chapter, “Dead...

Film Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

July 5, 2023

July 5, 2023

FILM REVIEWINDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINYRated PG-13154 MinutesReleased June 30th The director of Indiana Jones and the Dial...

Film Review: Past Lives

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

FILM REVIEWPAST LIVESRated PG-13105 MinutesLimited Releases June 2nd and June 9th, Full Release June 23rd The Korean concept of “In...

Film Review: Sanctuary

June 8, 2023

June 8, 2023

FILM REVIEWSANCTUARYRated R96 MinutesReleased May 19th In my humble estimation, this is one of the best movies of the year....

Film Review: The Little Mermaid

June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023

FILM REVIEWTHE LITTLE MERMAIDRated PG135 MinutesReleased May 26th With today’s technological developments, a live-action The Little Mermaid is not only...

Film Review: “Fast X”

May 26, 2023

May 26, 2023

FILM REVIEWFAST XRated PG-13141 MinutesReleased May 19th Fast X feels like producers sent an elite line-up of action superstars, mostly...

FILM REVIEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3

May 18, 2023

May 18, 2023

By Kathryn Boole  FILM REVIEWGUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3Rated PG-13150 MinutesReleased May 5th After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy...

Film Review: Chevalier

May 12, 2023

May 12, 2023

By Kathryn Boole  RATED PG-13107 MinutesReleased April 21, 2023 Chevalier is based on the true story of a historical figure...

Film: MAFIA MAMMA Fun Film With Great Setup And Lead Actresses

April 21, 2023

April 21, 2023

FILM REVIEWMAFIA MAMMARated R101 MinutesReleased April 14th The memoir Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was published in 2006, remained...

FILM REVIEW: OSCAR FORECAST 2023 PART TWOFILM REVIEW

March 12, 2023

March 12, 2023

FILM REVIEWOSCAR FORECAST 2023 PART TWO95th Academy Awards March 12th at 5:00PM on ABC This week, I will look into...