Big Fish (2004)
What is truth and what is fiction? It doesn't matter. All that maters is that you find the version of the story that you like best and never lose your ability to imagine something more than what your eyes can see. This is the point of the Tim Burton film "Big Fish", a study of the life of a man whose life is riddled by tall tales and the truth seeming obscured by his exhagerrations. The tales Edward Bloom tells about his life are as large as life itself, and in many cases, even larger.
As much as this is the story of Edward Bloom it is also the story of his son, Will Bloom, a man pinioned by reason, fact and only what can be proven or explained. A man who has grown ashamed of his father's tall tales, a man who wants to know the truth behind the myths. Of course, the truth was always there all along, in all Edward's tall tales was some fragment of truth, some portion of the real story, but this isn't really the point of the film. The point of the film is that when we lose our sense of wonder, we become dismal, boring creatures and that sometimes a whopper beats "just the facts".
"Big Fish" has many elements that most will find enjoyable. It's a love story, a comedy, a mild fantasy picture and a touching drama. This film has so many layers that one viewing will not even begin to reach beneath the surface at the true heart of the film, and trust me, there is a lot of heart to this film.
Frankly, I was surprised at many points that this film was directed by Tim Burton. While his very unique style is apparent in many of Edward Bloom's "memories", the present day scenes are directed masterfully and absent the staple surrealism Burton is famous for. In "Big Fish", Burton reminds us that he CAN direct a serious picture, much like he did with "Ed Wood". Yet Burton continues to challenge our perceptions though more subtly in this film.
A beautiful, touching, warm, funny movie that will leave you in tears and filled with a sense of joy and wonder, unless you're too serious to give it a chance. If you are too serious to give it a chance, to pinioned by reason, to tied to "only the facts", then watch it twice.
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