PG-13 for a fight scene, some images of nudity
and a suggestive reference
Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange,
Danny DeVito, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Buscemi, Billy Crudup
Big Fish Official Web Site
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Special Notes: Burton was inspired to do this story
after the death of his father while he was scouting for Planet of
the Apes in 2000. His mother passed away last year. Burton said
making this movie was therapeutic, a way exploring that, otherwise
those feelings wouldve just kept swirling around.
Plot: Will Bloom (Crudup) grew-up listening to his father tell
tall tales about his life, he used to love those stories. But when it
came to knowing who his father truly was or anything real about his past,
Will couldnt honestly say he knew. So when Will learned that his
father Edward (Finney) was terminally ill, it seemed only fitting that
he bring his pregnant wife and spend some quality time trying to dig beneath
the layers of fables, stories and tall tales, and learn the truth about
his dad. In turn, he would then have answers about his own life. When
Will confronts his dad and demands the truth, Edward is hurt and replies
that hes always told his son the truth. He then proceeds to once
again lay out his life before his son, telling stories about looking into
a witches eye when he was a young boy, befriending a gentle giant whom
he led out of town to find work, going to war and saving lives, finding
conjoined-twin lounge singers for a circus act, landing in a tree with
his car after a flood and of course, the one about the big fish that always
got away. McGregor plays the younger Ed throughout these flashback scenes.
Will looks to his mother Sandra, (Lange) for comfort as he slowly learns
how to separate fact from fiction and come to terms with who his father
really was and discover truths about the people whose lives were affected
and positively changed because of him.
Good: This is a powerful fable about family, told by the master
of storytelling, director Tim Burton (Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Batman,
James and the Giant Peach) who has skillfully woven a serious plot into
a bizarre tale, adapted from the best selling novel of the same name.
Its hard to explain this movie because its half reality, half
fables. Its a romantic-adventure that combines storytelling with
reality and constantly mixes real characters with imaginary ones. There
are touching father-son moments that will make you cry, a couple of romantic
scenes that reinforce marriage and monogamy, and profound metaphors about
life and the journey everyone is on. An incredible cast weaves the past
with the present, fable with reality, giving us a unique story that blends
fairytale, romance and adventure with a profound message on the importance
of life and living it to its fullest. In short, the theme of this movie
is how one man made a difference in peoples lives and made this world
a better place for his fellow man. This is one of those movies that took
me awhile to warm up to because its so unusual, bizarre and Im
not always a fan of Burton. After the credits rolled I couldnt stop
thinking or talking about it - and thats when I realized it was
a good story. Immediately after the screening several of us (critics),
went to a restaurant and sat around and discussed the symbolism and meaning
of this movie for hours afterwards. We each ended up sharing about our
fathers; who they were, what they were like when they were young, what
were their dreams for their families and themselves. It was one of the
most interesting discussions Ive had in a long time and the kind
you cant manufacture easily. I need to mention that this is not
a Christian movie but the story does have biblical values;
a loving husband-wife monogamous relationship, Wills realization
that his father had a generous heart and financially helped an entire
town get back on their feet and the fact that he was loyal to his family.
If you can get beyond the quirky characters, strange subplots and sometimes
dark moments, then youll probably enjoy this bizarre, funny, exotic,
poignant, profound, hard-to-explain tale - catch this one - dont
let it get away!
and take tissues, youll probably need one.
Bad: This is a movie for mature older teens (over 17) to adults
because of the adult storyline and use of obscenities. I dont think
teenagers will really get it like they did Edward Scissorhands
or Planet of the Apes because it takes someone who has lived
life and understands the complex issues (love, death, monogamy, parenthood)
to appreciate what this movie has to say about it. The brief, partial
nudity refers to two scenes; Edward is underwater and spots what looks
like a woman swimming in the nude (its blurred but he thinks shes
a fish). DeVito is a circus ringmaster who changes into a wolf (not a
werewolf) at night and runs into the forest after Will surprises him.
The next morning, we briefly see a shot of Devito in the buff walking
back to the circus from the forest - nothing gratuitous or sexual at all
- just a brief rear shot of him walking. There are a couple of scuffles
but one of the major fight scenes consists of a boy hitting Edward because
of a girl.
Bottom Line: Burton has created a timeless classic for adults
that will reel you in with a hook of hope, heart and humanity. Its
a story that will deeply touch fathers and sons, husbands and wives
and ultimately reinforces the true meaning of family and friends -
but again, it does so in Tim Burton style which may not appeal to
everyone. Big Fish is a big movie - it will keep you talking
and thinking about it long after you leave the theater!
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