Big fun, big imagination, big man, big heart, big stories! Pick your own ‘big’ pairing, but one thing is for sure, Tim Burtons 2003 film Big Fish is definitely a film that delivers on its title. When it was initially released I was much to naive to have grasped anything in this film other than questioning the authenticity of anything that was occurring. Thankfully with age I am able to appreciate the beautiful subtleties, the genius metaphors, and the heart-lifting ending. Whether you believe in fairy tales, tall tales, small tales, or told too many time tales, Burton’s visual exploration of protagonist Edward Blooms various stories is remarkable. You cannot help but want to believe in his version of every event that has taken place on his journey through life. Each occasion becomes an extravagant event, where serendipity becomes a brilliantly entertaining occurrence. From the birth of Bloom’s son to the way he earned his wife’s heart, you want to believe that these stories are not utter fabrications, rather they are highly designed interpretations of the truth.
The moral of the film is just as important as the narrative and visuals. Bloom’s son, Will (Billy Crudup), is fed up with his fathers repetitive tales and makes a point to distance himself. He was successful until receiving a phone call that his dad had become ill due to cancer. Edward Bloom (young played by Ewan McGregor, old by Albert Finney) is a remarkable character and both actors do an inspiring job portraying his charismatic and relentless persona. Will on the other hand is less like his father, there is almost no comparison that can be made between the two, that is until the denouement. The transformation from the man who resisted his father’s elaborate narratives to the man who writes his dad’s last tale, the ending is one of the most poignant manifestations love and acceptance ever to be captured on the silver screen. Yes, I will categorize it among the best, mainly because I had never witnessed an ending like it, as most only hope to receive their desired way out of this world. Will Bloom provides a fitting end to a life of colossal adventures and with it comes a renewed sense of who his father was, and the type of father he is going to be for his children.
All that is left to say is…Tim Burton, thanks for reminding me why I absolutely adore you.