Living life to the fullest
Big Fish is a story about Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) who had been known for his tall tales. As a child, his son, William (Billy Crudup), was fascinated by his stories, but when he grew up he wondered which of his father’s stories really happened and which ones were just fabrication. All through his life, Will had heard his father tell people the story of his birth – the day he caught the uncatchable fish with his gold ring. This was the story Edward was telling Will’s guests on his wedding reception. Will got upset because it was the one night that was supposed to be about him but his father stole his thunder. They didn’t speak for three years after that night.
When Edward got ill, Will came home and asked his father to tell him the true versions of things. Because Will felt that he had no idea who his father was. Now that he was about to be a father, himself, it would kill him if his son wouldn’t know him. So Will tried to piece together the stories of his father.
The young Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) was a man of big dreams and ambition. His adventures began when he met the giant, Karl (Matthew McGrory), and left the small town of Ashton with him when he was 18 years old. Edward came to the town of Spectre – the first time he was early and the second time he was too late. He worked in a circus where he first met the woman he was going to marry. He was drafted to the war and was sent to Vietnam where he met the “conjoined twins.”
As Will tried to learn more about his father, he learned that there was more to Edward Bloom than his tall tales. He was “a man with more determination than any man you’ll ever meet.” He was an honest and generous man who helped a town when all it’s businesses went bankrupt. He made everyday a new adventure. And every “adventure was as big as life itself.” This is the lesson that I am getting from Big Fish. We should live our life to the fullest.
Will’s questions were also answered. When Will was growing up his father was gone more than he was there and he wondered if his father ever had another family. He discovered what really happened on the day he was born. His father told him about the witch with the glass eye which revealed how Ed was gonna go but he had never told Will because it was supposed to be a surprise ending.
As Big Fish starts, Will narrated, “My father didn’t see himself in me and I didn’t see myself in my father.” I think in the end, Will did.
Ewan McGregor was very charming as the young Edward Bloom. I enjoyed watching him with that whimsical smile. Alison Lohman was very pretty as the young Sandra Templeton. And what a striking resemblance to Jessica Lange, who played the older Sandra. Big Fish is another cinematic masterpiece from director Tim Burton, the same director who brought us Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
My favourite parts of the movie are:
The first time Edward laid eyes on Sandra and he narrated, “They say when you meet the love of your life time stops and that’s true.” Then the frame froze except for Edward. The performers stood still, the peanuts floated in the air, Ed brushed away the peanuts as he walked towards the lovely Sandra. And then everything, except Ed, was in fast forward motion. And then he told Mr. Calloway (Danny Devito), “I just saw the woman I’m going to marry but I lost her.” I felt his pain.
When he finally tracked down Sandra in Auburn and told her, “You don’t know me but my name is Edward Bloom and I love you.” I just melted.
When the young Sandra opened the window of her dormitory and there stood the young Edward outside in a yard full of daffodils, professing his love for her. Edward had learned from Mr. Calloway that her favourite flowers were daffodils. “You don’t even know me,” said Sandra. “I have the rest of my life to find out,” said Edward. How romantic.
There are also many memorable quotes in Big Fish. These are some of my favourites:
The biggest fish in the river gets that way by never being caught.
There comes a point when a reasonable man will swallow his pride and admit that he’s made a terrible mistake. The truth is… I was never a reasonable man.
The more difficult something became, the more rewarded it was in the end.
A dangerous path is made much worse by darkness.
It’s rude to talk about religion. You never know who you’re gonna offend.
The most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely or lacking in social niceties.
There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost… the ship has sailed and only a fool would continue. Truth is… I’ve always been a fool.
The thing about icebergs is you only see 10%. Ninety percent is under the water where you can’t see it.
Have you ever heard a joke you heard so many times you’ve forgotten why it’s funny? Then you hear it again and suddenly it’s new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.
There are more memorable quotes here.
Big Fish is rated PG13- Parents strongly cautioned. I was alarmed by the phrase “some images of nudity” so I told my children that it’s not for kids. I guess I could have let my 15-year old watch it because it was just the naked butt of the lady in the river and that of Devito’s that you’ll see. Oh yeah, there’s a silhouette of a naked lady swimming. “A suggestive reference” may pertain to Calloway’s shaking trailer, which could suggest that someone’s doing it there, but no, there were no scenes of that kind.