There is one thing the audience should know before venturing to see this film: Big Fish will make you cry.
It’s not the fake tears that accompany the death of the main character, though. Rather, the emotion evoked by the movie is so strong that the only way to let it out is through the liquidity of the soul. Those tears will be the testament to the connection between the characters in the film and the people parallel to them that everyone knows in real life.
Big Fish is the long awaited film from director Tim Burton, whose two-year hiatus since Planet of the Apes has left his fans longing for more. And while Planet may have been slightly disappointing to some fans, Big Fish reestablishes Burton as a cinematic genius.
This Burton flick is the story of discovering the truth about the people we love most. As Ed Bloom (Albert Finney) is about to die, his son Will (Billy Crudup) tries to sift through the legends and stories that Ed has told about himself. And the feat doesn’t seem easy. Beginning with the legend of the biggest fish in the river and stretching through giants, conjoined twins, circus freaks and perfect towns, the gallery of stories seems never-ending.
But the film isn’t just about the relationship between Will and Ed Bloom — it’s about every family. Because in each family there’s that uncle, cousin, dad or grandfather that loves to tell stories — stories of his childhood, his family, the great and wondrous deeds he’s done.
Ewan McGregor charismatically plays the young Ed. The part is incredibly scripted and thought out, but also mesmerizing to watch. McGregor outdoes himself, proving he’s more than just another British hunk looking for a place in Hollywood.
And while the entire cast is exceptionally well chosen, McGregor is the focal point of the entire film.
To support McGregor’s outstanding performance, the film sports an all-star cast including Danny Devito, Steve Buscemi, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham-Carter.
Fish’s cinematography and directing are simple, yet poignant. Burton delivers a portrait of a man whose imagination, it may seem, runs wild to enhance his boring life, which ends up being anything but.
The relationship of the father and son is like so many others, but Burton makes it unique through brilliant storytelling and innovative direction. The film is destined to become a classic not just for its content, but also for the way it makes the audience feel.
In an age where not enough films go through the editing room, there are only a few gems that are perfect mixes of both length and content. Almost never is a film not long enough. Big Fish is a film you wish would never end.