Letters from the Big Man


Rehabbing the Bigfoot-movie micro-genre is nobody’s idea of a cinematic priority, but that’s pretty much what Christopher Munch (The Hours and Times, The Sleepy Time Gal) does for his first film in seven years. Letters from the Big Man stars Lily Rabe as Sarah, a prickly Forest Service contractor whose on-site research in a fire-damaged southern Oregon forest puts her in telepathic contact with the ethereal titular beast (Isaac C. Singleton, Jr., in beautifully expressive creature makeup by Lee Romaire). Meanwhile, an environmentalist (Jason Butler Harner) smitten with the newly single Sarah—and who in her terms had his “serenity disrupted” by a childhood Sasquatch encounter—discovers a government plot to exploit the animal and its kin. If this sounds like the setup for a dour New Age nag, rest assured that Big Man is open-ended and gently playful throughout, and in some ways recalls a more grounded Uncle Boonmee or a less cheesy Trollhunter. Its quiet plea for reconnection with the non-human world is persuasive, and the engaged, agile meditation on the limits of communication at its center aligns it with Munch’s earlier work. Oregon’s million-dollar scenery, a sweet cameo by Karen Black, and Rabe’s tough/tender performance sweeten the pot. Even if Big Man draws only a tiny audience, its inspired alignment of personal and ecological loss will disrupt someone’s serenity at least a little.

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