Art connects people. It transcends space, time and most importantly… algorithms. This Is Going To Be Big is a special film, one that will never stop making you smile every time you think about it.
This uplifting documentary tells the story of a group of neurodiverse Australian teenagers as they navigate the world, school and most importantly their first high school musical, which is about time travelling to see Australian musician royalty John Farnham at different stages of his career. If that stellar premise alone doesn’t make you want to drop everything and watch this as soon as possible, then I don’t know what will.
The beautiful human soul
At the heart of everything is the beautiful human soul alive in everyone, following these people’s lives, hearing of what they’ve been through and how they’ve gotten to the other side of such adversity or are currently working their way through, inspirational doesn’t begin to cover it.
The charming students in question include Halle, Josh, Chelsea, and Elyse. Seeing their home lives, how they interact with their family and most amazingly, how they see the world opens your eyes to new perspectives as the fly on the wall documentary approach importantly never feels intrusive or disruptive to the people in it.
The film is remarkably funny as well, as an example, when one of the parents is explaining about how neurodivergency has effected their childs life, you see the child in the background coyly poking their head out from behind the wall asking “Is she crying yet?” the Mum replies “I’m not going to cry” only to hear the final retort “Yes you are!” as they walk away.
Perspectives, emotions and viewpoints
In the age of disposable ‘content’, I feel like it’s easy to fall into the pitfalls of only viewing entertainment as just that, a final product that has a Rotten Tomatoes score fresh or rotten and fills a certain amount of time… then you’re on to the next thing. Instead of digesting it as art. The beautiful thing about art is it’s not just something you follow a recipe (or input word prompts) to achieve. For me, it’s connecting with different perspectives, emotions and viewpoints. A life or experience distilled down into anything, a painting, song, photograph, or film, it’s that which makes it special.
The key element to this is the human expression being outputted through creativity and that’s what this documentary highlights the most, the positive impact preparing for this school production has on these people’s lives. From the ecstatic school teachers supporting them through the experience to the parents cheering them on, our lives and connections to art is so extraordinary. Which film stole your imagination as a child? What song makes you think of an important person in your life?
Laugh and cry
The beauty of This Is Going To Be Big is that when they perform the John Farnham time travel musical, you see the children’s huge smiles, enjoying every second, as well as the parents in the audience tearing up with so much pride over what their children have achieved. Art isn’t just a product, it takes up huge parts of people’s lives to create as they input their loves, hopes, dreams and fears, then an audience digests it, sits with it, lives with it. No algorithm or ‘AI’ generated artwork could have guessed that a group of neurodiverse teenagers rehearsing for their school musical on the other side of the world would have the power to make me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.
This is what artists, no matter the discipline they fall into under, are fighting for: the human experience and connection, the emotional sustenance you get from amazing art. For every second of its duration This Is Going To Be Big is just that, a soul-affirming film which puts people at the forefront and perfectly articulates why we need art, both to create it and consume it.