• PG-13, 2 hr. 5 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Tim Burton
    In Theaters:
    Dec 10, 2003 Wide
    On DVD:
    Apr 27, 2004
  • Sony Pictures


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Big Fish Reviews

Page 1 of 1371
Christian C

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2013
Beautiful visually and emotionally. A wonderful examination of relationships and mortality. Albert Finney proves again what a fine actor he is.

Super Reviewer

June 7, 2011
Will Bloom: A man tells so many stories, that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.

"An Adventure As Big As Life Itself."

Big Fish is a very interesting movie. The plot jumps around and while we are being told the stories, we, like the child of the man in the stories, don't know what's true and what's false. Now, Big Fish isn't one of my favorites from Tim Burton, but it does show some expansion in his filmmaking. This movie is more real life than anything he's ever done. Sure there's some fantastical elements that remind us of other Burton films, but this one is so much more different than anything he's ever done.

Big Fish is the life story of a dying old man, Ed Bloom. He is a storyteller, that tells fantastical stories about his life, which seem to have little to do with reality. His son, Will, also is under the belief that the stories are made up. Either way we get to hear and see the stories the way Ed would have told them.

There's a lot of bizarreness going on here as you would suspect with any Burton film. There's a giant, a witch, a humongous fish, and a love story that stops time. Overall the plot elements add up to a pretty satisfactory story even if something seems to be missing from he overall outcome.

Big Fish is a film I more appreciate then enjoy. I never have fallen in love with it, but it always entertains and intrigues me. It's well worth a watch as it has solid direction from Burton and it boasts a strong and well-know cast.

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2007
Fantasy movie by Tim Burton. A man is dying of cancer. His son is desperate to know his father. He tells him how he met his mother. Great cast and story.
Sam B

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2012
Tim Burton may be the biggest name attached to Big Fish, but its really screenwriter John Augusts' movie, as he masterfully adapts a book about storytelling into a movie about storytelling with ease. In fact, I'd say the biggest detriment to the film is Burton himself, who seems out of his element, trying to cling to any creepy element he can find. In the non-fantastical scenes, his direction is boring and bland; without any crazy stylistic flourishes, he seems to simply get the easiest shots possible. The actors in the movie are all incredibly talented, yet for some reason, none of them seem to be at their best (except maybe Albert Finney). In the end, the story is involving and deep enough to carry all the flaws to the end, making Big Fish an understandably flawed but nonetheless ambitious and charming adventure.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2007
A continuously surprising journey, highly re-watchable, and one of the best endings I've ever seen. May be Burton's best.
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2011
BIG FISH is bizarre, but there's Tim Burton for you. A unique fantasy-drama, it questions life and death with the usual, odd spin created by Burton; and without all the flummoxing B.S. that kept THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON from earning its Oscar for Best Picture.

The one amusing thing about this film is that Edward Bloom, the centric character of the film, says as many memorable things in 125 minutes as Mark Twain did in his lifetime. This character is witty, clever, and well-portrayed by both Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney. (Though McGregor could have done a little better.)

If I had to pick one Tim Burton film (not in collaboration with Johnny Depp) and say it's by far the best of his career, I'd automatically choose BIG FISH. It has a great cast, a great crew, and both halves put some brilliant, brilliant work into it. Everything is simply fabulous--the camera work, the art direction, you name it--and it is an absolute must-watch.

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2011
The definition of original this film literally makes you feel every emotion a human body can handle. Surreal without being confusing and touching without being cliche, this film sticks with you long after you have watched it and continues to bring you back for more when the days are long and the nights are short. A perfect movie to lose yourself in for a couple of hours and ultimatley leaves you feeling very raw and very human.
Louis R

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2011
Brilliantly told story. I always forget how much I love this film. Tim Burton at his best.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

May 21, 2007
It's one of the most creative and visually captivating films. It also has one of the finest actors out there giving a great performance, Ewan McGregor. This little gem is not to be missed.
Drake T

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2011
What a man's life isn't what it is, but how he sees it. It's full of whimsical, entertaining, alluring visuals and smart allegory but never actually carries its ideas or plot in coherency.

The beginning is about... living larger than life, going out there and not letting anything hold you back; even the possibility of settling down in the "happiest town possible", but then he falls in superficial love? And spirals back to the allure of a nuclear family? What?!

Crudup's attempts to connect with his father in truth become obsolete because fantastical stories are "better"? Because they immortalize him? Any story about his life told repeatedly could have done that. Why was immortality even important?The story's just all over the place with too many messages/themes to explore, in the end none of these voices sync together in one chorus. It's sloppy.
Shawn E

Super Reviewer

May 25, 2011
A feel good film that explores the imaginative storytellings of a dying man. The emotions and creative visuals are good, but some of the story is a bit weak. The ending is very well done.

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2011
Tim Burton has made possibly the best films that he has ever made. Not only was the plot a fantasy thrill ride of fun and imagination. Some really beautiful effects were used in this film, and really imaginative. The acting in this film was phenomenal and deserved more recognition. I truly loved this movie the minute it started, truly a classic to be remembered.

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2008
Saw it again!! Great Movie! Probably one of the best Tim Burton movies he has done over his career. The story is just so amazing and unique, there's barely a single bad thing you can say about this movie except you wish it would be longer since it's so good and with a very good smart cast.

The movie begins with Will Bloom's (Billy Crudup) narrative of his father. We see his dad, Edward Bloom, as an old man (Albert Finney) fishing. He then turns around and is young Edward (Ewan McGregor). Young Edward has grabbed the biggest catfish ever known to man. He opens the fish's mouth and grabs his wedding ring. He lets the fish go. Will explains that his dad thinks the big is the spirit some old pirate who is obsessed with gold, therefore his dad attracts the fish with his ring.

Now Will is a little boy out camping with some friends. His dad is telling the boys stories. All listen intently except for one, Will. He's heard his dad's stories so many times that he's already sick of them by age 9. Next Will's going to his prom, but his date is stuck in the living room listening to his dad's stories. Now Will is having the most important day of his life, his wedding day. But his dad steals the show with more stories. Will can't bare it so he tells his new bride , Josephine, he's stepping out. This is the last time Will spoke to his dad again. Will's mom, Sandra (Jessica Lange) however keeps in touch with him.

She always makes excuses for why either Will won't talk to his dad or Edward won't talk to his son. She's been in the middle of them for years until Will gets a letter from her oneday saying his father is dying. Josephine, who is now pregnant, wants Will to see his father and to come along.

Will finally agrees. He comes home to see his dad extremely altered. His father is known for swimming everyday, but the pool is filled with leaves and unused in months. Soon his dad starts breaking out the stories. It seems Josephine is the only one willing to listen, though she's heard his stories already as well. Soon Will's recalling his dad's first lie.....um, i mean story. Edward's mother is in labor with him. The doctor tells her to push and out pops baby Edward. He goes sliding down the hospital hallway. No one his able to catch him. Just as he's about to hit a wall head first a nurse finally grabs him.

Young Edward is in the swamps of his hometown with four friends. They encounter a witch's home. All are afraid to enter, but Edward. Slowly Edward walks toward the spooky house. Suddenly the witch (Helena Bonham Carter) opens the door. Edward politely tells her his name and that his friends wish to see her eye. (This eye will tell them how they'll die). Edward goes back to his friends, they ask if he has the eye and he says yes. Then the witch jumps out from behind Edward. Two of his friends have already ran away and two are left. One looks in the eye and sees he'll die from falling off a ladder as a very old man. Another sees he'll die as a young man on a toilet from a heart attack. Now Edward looks and says," Oh, so that's how I'll die".

Edward's in church singing, suddenly his voice is changing rapidly and his feet are growing. Edward has some growth disorder and has to lay in bed for months while in some device. The whole time he's in bed he reads the encyclopedia.

Edward has now grown into a strapping young man and the pride and joy of his hometown. He wins a championship basketball game for the town. Everyone carries him in the air with joy. Everyone except his friend from the woods who saw himself die as a young man, we'll just call him Jimmy Smith. Jimmy sits with a jealous look on his face towards Edward.

Edward wins a football game. Jimmy shakes his head in disbelieve. Edward saves a cat from a burning house. Everyone rejoices.......except Jimmy.

Soon peoples sheep, chickens, and dogs are being eaten. There's word of a giant among the people. Everyone decides someone should go get rid of it. Edward volunteers himself. Edward goes into the woods and finds Carl the giant. Once Edward sees Carl emerge from his cave he knows he's done for. So he tells Carl he's been sent as a human sacrifice.(therefore basicly saying, "I give up.") Carl tells Edward he doesn't wanna eat him, and that he's just always so hungry. Carl seems sad about this. Edward then tells Carl he's just a big fish in a little pond and encourages him to leave the little town for bigger things. Edward realizes it's time he does the same. He then leaves with Carl. The town is sad to see Edward and Carl, whom they're no longer afraid of, leave. And throw them a going away celebration.

Edward and Carl walk along the path to their future when Edward sees a sign. This sign leads down another path through the woods. This path Edward has always wanted to follow since he was little. He tells Carl to continue the path they're following and he'll go through this mystery passage. Carl thinks Edward's trying to ditch him, however Edward promises he'll meet him on the other side.

Edward walks through the very difficult path. There's jumping spiders and bees that attack him, but he feels there's always obstacles to face when something great is waiting on the other end. Edward finally comes across a little town called Spectra. The road is paved with grass and everyone is barefoot. It's the pleasantest little town Edward has ever seen.

The mayor of Spectra tells Edward he's too early. Edward sees his name on the mayor's list. They want him to stay anyway. Edward meets the town folks including a poet from his very own hometown, Norther Winslow (Steve Buscemi). Edward always thought Norther was somewhere in France, but it turns out he's been in Spectra all along.

Soon Edward wants to leave Spectra. Little Jenny, a girl Edward has met there, doesn't want him to go. It appears she has a crush on him. She begs him to come back someday and he says he will. Jenny had earlier taken Edward's shoes so the trip back through the path is very painful for him.

Edward comes back to the path Carl took, and to his surprise Carl is still there waiting!

Edward is at a circus. There's a big hoopla over this "giant" throughtout the audience. Edward seems the least bit phased. He whistles to the lighting guy and points next to him. Everyone sees Carl. The ringmaster, Amos Calloway (Danny DeVito) is in love. He tells everyone the shows over as he approaches Carl. Edward now sees a beautiful young woman. He says time stops when you've found the person you know you'll marry and so time stops. Edward approaches the girl and time he reaches her time starts back in turbo speed and she's gone. Carl signs up with the circus and Edward begs for a job as well. Amos finally gives in when Edward agrees to work for free only to be told each month something about is dream girl whom Amos knows. Month one: Edward is giving an obeised man a bath and Amos tells him his girl likes daffodils. Edward is on cloud nine repeating over and over again, "Daffodils, she likes daffodils".

Month two: Amos tells Edward his girl goes to college. Edward is in a ring full of motorcyclist jumping over his head, but he pays them no mind as he keeps saying," College, she goes to college".

Month three: Edward is in a cannon that shoots him in the air, but he's still daydreaming about his girl. Finally one night Edward discovers Amos turns into a wolf at night. Edward befriends the wolf, not knowing it's Amos, and Amos respects him the next morning for taking care of him when others would have been afraid. He then tells him is girls name is Sandra ( Allison Lohman).

Edward goes to Sandra's college. She comes out and he tells her he wants to marry her. Though flattered Sandra is already engaged. Edward walks away saying any sensible man would give up. We then see him running back and he says he's no sensible man. Edward's in a field of daffodils and he screams out to Sandra that he's gonna marry her. Her fiancee comes, it's Jimmy Smith from back home! Sandra begs Edward not to fight him so he doesn't. He instead gets the crap beat outta him by Jimmy. Finally Sandra tells Jimmy she'd rather marry a complete stranger than him. She sits next to a badly bruised Edward and he smiles at her with some teeth missing.

Jimmy's on the toilet reading a girly magazine when he has a heart attack and dies. (remember, the witch's eye foretold this)

Edward is in the hospital recovering when he finds out he'll be drafted into the war. Before he goes he marries Sandra.

While serving in the army Edward decides to take the most risky assignments, hoping to get an early leave to get home to Sandra. For one of these assignments Edward must retrieve some top secret files from the Vietnamese army. Upon accepting the job Edward has to sky dive to the target area. In the area numerous Vietnamese soldiers are watching a show given by two conjoined twins, Ping and Jing. Edward drops backstage and gets the files after fighting many soldiers. However when the curtain drops after the show everyone sees Edward's parachute and know he's there. Edward's trapped and the twins find him in his hiding place. He then begs the twins to help him. They're moved by his story of his having to leave Sandra, plus he offers them a job in Amos Calloway's circus.

Back at home Sandra receives word that Edward is dead. She's heart broken.

Months pass and Edward surprises Sandra, she can't believe her eyes.

Edward is older and he's a travelling salesman. He goes to the bank one day and sees Norther Winslow, who has finally left Spectra. Norther informs him he's there to rob the bank. He makes Edward an accomplice and tells him to get the rest of the money out of the vault. The cashier informs Edward nothing is there. While in the get away car Edward tells Norther that he couldn't get anything out of the vault because it had nothing in it. They go their separate ways and Norther comes to the conclusion that he's going to Wall street where the big money is at. Now we're back with Will. He's cleaning out his dad's office. He sees a document about Jenny from Spectra. He thinks his dad has another family with her. Will then goes to Spectra himself.

Once in Spectra Will meets Jenny who is older (Helena Bonham Carter). She tells Will the story of his dad's second visit to the town.

One rainy night Edward can barely see the road as he travels home. Soon he's in water. He sees a naked lady that he remembers seeing back in Spectra. He gets back on dry land that morning and sees he's indeed back at Spectra! The last time he came he was too early, this time he's too late. Spectra is run down. The grass paved road is gravel.

Soon Edward decides to buy the town with the help of Norther Winslow, who is now a millionaire. He owns everything except for a little raggedy house. He finds out Jenny owns the house and she refuses to sell it to him. With the help of Carl the giant Edward fixes up her home and she finally agrees. She's still in love with Edward and tries to kiss him. He tells her of his wife and stops her. She never sees Edward again. Jenny tells Will that the house become ruined again and she become known as a witch.

Will goes back home and his father is in the hospital. His dad tells him this is how he dies and he begins to panic. He tells Will to finish the story of how he dies. Will can't because his dad has never told him that story. Suddenly Will takes over his dad's storytelling and begins telling the story of how his dad will die.

He'll take his dad out of the hospital and after that escape he'll take him to the lake. All he friends are there to see him off, Carl the giant, Ping and Jing, Amos Calloway, Norther Winslow, all of them. Edward will wave goodbye to them and Will places him in the water. He turns into a big catfish and swims off to live on for eternity.

(We're now back to reality) Edward smiles at Will and says that's exactly how it happens and dies.

At Edward's funeral Will sees Carl the Giant for the first time. He's tall, but not exactly as tall as his dad described. We also see the conjoined twins. They are twins, however not conjoined. We see Jenny and Norther Winslow too. Everyone is gathering and telling Edward's stories. Will says it's like hearing a joke you haven't heard in a while and suddenly it's funny to you again. He also says his dad knew what he was doing. He knew that by telling his stories he'd continue to live on for generations.

Super Reviewer

October 26, 2010
Big Fish is one of Tim Burton's best films. This is a film with such a terrific story and it's very positive. The film is filled adventure and inspiration. Big Fish is one of the finest films that Tim Burton has ever made and also one of his most ambitious. Big Fish is an extraordinary film about a man trying to reconnect with his dying father by his his father telling him exaggerated stories about his life. This is one of Tim Burton's best film since Sleepy Hollow and Ed Wood. One of the reasons the film succeeds so well is the great cast of actors involved in this film. They really bring out the best out of the story. The result of Big Fish is that of Drama, Comedy and constant adventure. Of course the scope of the film is big because the main character exaggerates the events of his life, and it's great to see unfold on screen. There is not a single boring part in the film and the story will definitely keep you entertained till the end. Only Tim Burton could craft a film like this and like I've said, this ranks up there as one of his finest films. The film has a very good story to boot, and this is an unforgettable film. Big Fish is a terrific film with a great cast, plot and directing. This is a film that will definitely make you feel something positive, and won't make you feel childish, even initially it feels like a childs fantasy, it's not. What the film does so well is bring back memories of classic fairy tales, and it reminds us what we love about them. Some reviewers have been tremendously unfair to this film, and I do believe that they've missed the point about this entire film. Yes, the film does portray the dying father as a blowhard, but thats the point. Over the course of the film, both son and father try to to reconcile and thats what the film is about. Obviously at the beginning of the film the relationship between father and son is strained, bur over the film is a healing process for them both a process to reconnect, and by the films end; William Bloom realizes his father was a wonderful person. Big Fish is a terrific film with a terrific cast and one great story. A seriously underrated film.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2010
Visually stunning, dramatic, and the performances of Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, and Billy Crudup are exceptional. Early part from Marion Cotillard.
Josh L

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2007
A typical Tim Burton movie filled with a more light-hearted version of fantasy elements and set in the real world. It feels like a road movie when the father is telling his stories of how he did everything to get to where he was and the characters are interesting and relate-able while the parts where the father and son talk about how the son doesn't believe any of it sort of falls flat. Part of it is Crudup, who seems uninvolved, but the rest of the cast is great. Ewan McGregor is in a very fun role as a man that has irresistible charms while Albert Finney plays the older version of the character. One of the best things about the movie is the flawless makeup design that makes all of the older versions of characters actually look like their younger counterparts. The film also has the usual Burton visual style: bright and colorful sets, ominous and unusual buildings, and great visual effects. I like when Burton does original material like this rather than adapting like Alice in Wonderland. It feels less constricted and more care-free. If you crave a fantastical tale, you should definitely check out Big Fish. There's not a whole lot like it.

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2010
The ending was nice. The love story was sweet. Overall this movie is okay. Could be better though.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2009
An amazing movie with an unmatched sense of imagination. Tim Burton has given one of the most personal works of his career. It is extremely emotional and tells a story that is both fantastical and real. Ewan McGregor was amazing and really made the world believable.

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2009
Perfect movie for Tim Burton. Really interesting film that probably deserves a higher score, only seen it once though. Bizarre yet beautiful, Burton.
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

October 8, 2009
Tim Burton?s films are a lot of things ? dark, magical, childlike, beautiful and most of the time brilliantly made. But one thing which they are not is sentimental, and that?s a good thing. So many of Hollywood?s best directors, like Steven Spielberg and Kevin Smith, have squandered promising careers in the pursuit of making us cry, appealing to the ?child in us all?, and other such phrases that make you want to retch.

Burton?s best films have always been driven by darkness, by characters which are either twisted (Ed Wood), have split personalities (Batman, Batman Returns) or who are completely out of their depth in society (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow). So for Burton to take on a project that would have been helmed by Spielberg is cause for initial alarm. After all, the flaws with a lot of his films have been scripts which try to create a mushy romance at the centre of a dark director?s vision.

Upon viewing Big Fish, however, all such fears evaporate, because this is a great Tim Burton film, combining all the motifs which are easy to recognise with a funny and heart-warming story. It?s a departure from his previous work, not just in that it?s more pleasing, but the cinematography is more lush and the colour schemes richer than his 1980s work. As much as Big Fish lacks the outwardly Gothic edge of so many of his other films, the look of it sets the scene and the bar for his work that followed, the very fine Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the magnificent Sweeney Todd.

For all this, the film does start very slowly. One of the best features of Tim Burton?s films are the opening credits; they are done so elaborately that they effectively become the opening scene, meaning that the plot can hit the ground running without hefty exposition. But here, there is no equivalent of the Hammer-style graveyard in Ed Wood or the bizarre machines in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The first few minutes jump cuts around between time and different locations, as if its sole intention was to explain the title so we can all move on.

For all its overt brightness and charm, the film does have a creepy element to it. It?s a very cine-literate offering and all the films it references have sinister undertones. The film as a whole may resemble Forrest Gump, in that it is an inspiring story about one man?s extraordinary life. But the scenes in Spectre are far more reminiscent of The Stepford Wives or even Blue Velvet; there?s an eeriness to them, a sense of everything not being right to the point at which it is actually scary. Part of this comes from the casting: Spectre?s inhabitants include Missi Pyle and the wonderful Steve Buscemi, and Billy Redden, the banjo player in Deliverance, also gets a self-referential cameo.

Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney share the central role with good grace and presence. The former is clearly drawing on his performance in Moulin Rouge! as a wide-eyed, naďve young poet giddy with love. But he is really likeable, especially in his circus scenes with the on-form Danny DeVito. The latter can become wearisome in his long monologues, but that may be the point of the character. Elsewhere Marion Cotillard is a pleasant addition as the son?s pregnant wife, and there?s a nice early cameo from Deep Roy before his days as an Oompa Loompa.

Above all, this is a film about the art of storytelling and about how imagination and fantasy can often be more impressive (and interesting) than reality and realism. It?s not a film which advocates escapism, so much as one which takes the idea of a wild and creative imagination, takes it to the dramatic extreme, and contrasts with the mediocre life of someone with no imagination. It owes something in that sense to Hard Times, Charles Dickens? novel about a man obsessed with facts. The world created on screen is so immersive and so fascinating that you find yourself going with every twist without questioning the workings of it. And in that final scene, where Albert Finney is carried into the river to die, your eyes do start to flood with tears. Spielberg, take note: this is how to invoke an emotional response.

Big Fish is up there with Burton?s best, serving as proof that he can do light as well as shade. It?s an interesting companion piece to his most recent work, which has sustained the rich cinematography but re-embraced all that is dark. It?s not flawless, since the opening is lax and there are moments where the re-entry into ?reality? is a little jarring. But it remains an inspiring piece of filmmaking, correcting the flaws of Planet of the Apes and setting audiences up for the great work that followed.
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