“I Kill Giants” is a movie to see as a family, then discuss afterward

XYZ Films

She’s so weird. You know the one.

She’s that awkward kid at school, the one no one sits with at lunch. She dresses like a kook, draws oddball pictures during class, mutters to herself in the hallway. Who wants a friend like that?

“What drew me to the role is Barbara is very complicated,” said Madison Wolfe, who plays the central character in “I Kill Giants.” “She has a lot of layers. I loved the challenge of trying to break through all layers.”

The movie’s out in limited release, playing locally at AMC Conyers Crossing 16, and also available via Amazon Prime. Watching it at home as a family, with a discussion to follow, is an idea to consider.

Here’s the trailer:

“Everyone can relate to Barbara,” Wolfe said during an interview with the AJC. “She’s dealing with a lot of loss in her life. She’s very good at putting a strong front on. Underneath all of her sarcasm she’s a good person.”

The movie, set in coastal New Jersey but filmed in Ireland and Belgium, opens as snarky loner Barbara Thorson is checking her “giant traps.” It’s up to her to protect her small town from a host of lumbering fiends who stomp in from the ocean every once in a while, eager to smash everything in their paths. Barbara, with her trusty rabbit ears and bedazzled pocketbook, is the sole guardian against destruction.

It turns out she’s fighting an even bigger foe, one that has nothing to do with the mean-girl clique whose members delight in exposing Barbara’s secrets, busting up her treasured belongs and occasionally beating her up.

“I admire her strength,” Wolfe said. “A lot of people would benefit from the movie. It might bring awareness to other people’s issues. It might shine a light on kids in a sense of, they’re not just crazy. If they’re acting out or doing some weird stuff it’s probably because they’re struggling with something.”

Imogen Poots plays Barbara’s harried sister. Her caring counselor, played by Zoe Saldana, is the kind of mentor anyone would be lucky to have, and sets the example of the kind of compassion we all should exhibit.

“Obviously I look up to them,” Wolfe said. “They taught me a lot. They’re both so talented but also so humble.”

“I Kill Giants” is based on the graphic novel by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura and produced by Chris Columbus, whose directing credits include “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Fans of the Harry Potter films will recognize a nice blend of spooky scenes, teen angst and the power of friendship.

“This is not just a story about bravery and courageousness,” director Anders Walter said in a statement. “It is a tale of friendship and family, of growing up and facing your demons, and of learning to cope with any situation that is thrown at you.”

Wolfe, 15, is a high school freshman from New Orleans who’s also appeared in “The Conjuring 2,” “Joy” and “Trumbo” with more projects ahead. She couldn’t discuss them just yet. For now she’s proud of her work in “I Kill Giants.”

“It’s such an amazing story,” she said, adding that the first time she saw it on the big screen, “I cried.”

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