Monday, August 22, 2016

Movie Review: "Big Fish" (2003)

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Movie"Big Fish"
Director: Tim Burton
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

A man tries to reconnect with his dying father and learn about his life beyond the fantastical tales his father fed him growing up.

Directed by Tim Burton, "Big Fish" is a fantasy drama based on the Daniel Wallace novel "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions." It boasts a wonderful and fitting cast including Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, and Marion Cotillard, as well as many bit parts performed by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito, Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew McGrory, Missi Pyle, and Deep Roy, including others. This film is all about a relationship between a father and son mostly told through a love story between a husband and wife. Will Bloom, played by Billy Crudup, has had a falling out with his father Edward, played by Albert Finney. Now, many years later, Ed is dying, and Will is looking to reconcile their strained relationship before it is too late. Will's biggest issue is he feels he doesn't really know his father since his dad has always had a tendency to tell overly fantastical tales about his life that never rang true to reality. Will regales the life of his dad to the audience the way Edward himself told his stories. We get to experience the amazing adventures of Edward Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor in his younger years, embellishments and all, and boy, are they adventures to behold.

This movie hits pretty close to home for us for many reasons, but primarily because BigJ can see many elements of his own father within the character of Edward Bloom. Maybe that's the point of it all. We've seen elements of ourselves and our loved ones in the characters on screen in many different movies and in many different capacities, but few films are able to achieve this with the precision-point accuracy of "Big Fish." This is a visually striking and beautiful film that displays the colorful and whimsical side of Tim Burton rather than the dark, gothic one. There are so many iconic visuals throughout this film that will burn themselves into your memory long after the VCR/DVD/blu-ray/streaming player has been turned off. It's hard to pick our favorite visual moment because there are just too many, but a few that come to mind are when Edward displays his of love for Sandra in the form of thousands and thousands of yellow daffodils outside her dorm room window, and when Edward sees Sandra for the first time at the circus and time freezes as he makes his was through the expansive crowd. This is a true display of Burton at his best. "Big Fish" also has a gorgeous Oscar nominated score by Danny Elfman, which not only adds whimsy, but also aids in the storytelling aspect, too. The acting is great from everyone involved, including a few memorable performances by Finney, Crudup, Lange, and McGregor.

No matter how many times we watch "Big Fish," we are reduced to tear-filled, blubbering little messes by the end of it. Though many viewers might not "get" what this story and movie are really about, at the end of the day, we're willing to call it Tim Burton's best, most underrated film because its message, themes, characters, and essence resonate so strongly with us. We absolutely adore every aspect of this movie, no matter how sad it may make us when all is said and done. The acting is perfect, the vast cast is vibrant, and the story boasts a big, fanciful plot full of lessons in life, love, lies, imagination, and loss. Please do yourself a favor and watch this gem of a film.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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