A pipe in my house froze and busted and I decided to watch the Golden Globes instead of writing this so it will be very very short. I adore this film and it deserves much more than a rushed post but here goes. The film is Big Fish and if you haven’t seen it, you need to get your life together.
Big Fish came out in 2003 and stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman and so many other amazing actors. I could list them all and that would be enough to see the film alone, the film is dripping with talent. It is a film that tells the story of storytelling I guess. The first time I saw this film was in high school, in class. You may notice this along the way but my high school was bloody awesome, like I am ever so thankful for the fact that I attended my school, that I got in and I am blessed by the education I had at Hunter College High School, aka the Brick Prison (a term of endearment). Now this film is the story of a man, a writer, who is trying to understand his dying father who has always told the stories of his life through a series of tall tales or fairy tales. Like the tall tales of every society there is truth in them though and our protagonists learns that along the way.
Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor do a fantastic job playing this bigger than life man whose stories are brought to the screen beautifully. These fanciful stories take us through his history and it is a fantastic journey including secret towns, bank robberies, and circuses. I would have to go into detail to do this film true justice and I don’t want to take anything away from the film. The structure of the film is a series of flashbacks but not really flashbacks because parsing the truth is complicated. We watched it in class because it is a film drowned in symbolism, so it was a great way to teach students the importance of it. When I taught English in South Korea I taught this film for the very same reason. I love the film’s central premise though, that these stories we tell often tell so much about ourselves.
Did I mention that film is also beautiful, like gorgeously shot. You can easily see the separation between the stories and the modern day reality for the characters but you get the feeling that Edward (our storyteller) likely only sees the world in that whimsical fashion, for these are not fairy tales, these are his life. And eventually his son comes to learn that and accept that. The women are also fantastic in the film, even though they are given not much to work with if I am being totally honest. This is definitely one of my favorite Tim Burton films.
Here’s the trailer for the film: