Big Fish

Critics Consensus

A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 219

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 498,345

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Movie Info

When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a strained relationship with Edward because his father has always told exaggerated stories about his life, and William thinks he's never really told the truth. Even on his deathbed, Edward recounts fantastical anecdotes. When William, who is a journalist, starts to investigate his father's tales, he begins to understand the man and his penchant for storytelling.

Cast & Crew

Ewan McGregor
Young Edward Bloom
Albert Finney
Edward Bloom
Billy Crudup
Will Bloom
Jessica Lange
Sandra Bloom
Helena Bonham Carter
Jenny, The Witch
Alison Lohman
Sandra Bloom (Young)
Robert Guillaume
Dr. Bennett (Senior)
Matthew McGrory
Karl the Giant
David Denman
Don Price (age 18-22)
John August
Screenwriter
Dan Jinks
Producer
Arne Schmidt
Executive Producer
Philippe Rousselot
Director of Photography
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News & Interviews for Big Fish

Critic Reviews for Big Fish

All Critics (219) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (165) | Rotten (54)

  • When it catches fire, this great-looking movie offers hilarious diversions. And as father and son struggle toward a hard-won reconciliation, Big Fish reveals its beating heart.

    March 12, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Big Fish really belongs to Albert Finney, who proves that when it comes to large performances there is no one who can quite match a British Shakespearean with good camera sense.

    January 9, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The film doesn't so much reject history as selectively rewrite it to its own reactionary, even offensive ends. This might perhaps be just about tolerable were the film funny, illuminating, insightful or moving. It is not.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.

    August 7, 2004
  • This is a film that pasteurises both plot and sentiment with the efficiency of a Swiss milking machine.

    April 29, 2004 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Burton shows the rivalry between father and son but not the rancor, which seems to fit with the film's calm lyricism. But the father-son conflict is meant as the dramatic crux, and a forceful actor would have given it some much-needed bite.

    March 16, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Big Fish

  • Apr 03, 2016
    So, this movie... It isn't very good. Personally, I believe it's one of those movies where the director puts good effects before a good story, and that isn't the way to make a movie. There is a lot of good actors and actresses in this movie, but they don't really seem invested in the story at all. Maybe because there was no real story to begin with. The book is a true masterpiece, but the movie heavily underestimates the potential of what could have been a brilliant movie. I'm sorry, Tim Burton. Try again...
    Lasse G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2014
    While the narrative could have spent a little more time focusing on the present, Big Fish is joyous, stunning, and entertaining. The film presents two sides of a father/son relationship and allows both sides to be balanced enough to where you feel sympathetic towards both. It is an entertaining and touching film, and on my list of top 5 Burton films.
    Joey T Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2013
    Big Fish is a wondrous and fantastical film from Tim Burton. The story follows a son who seeks to separate truth from fiction in his father's tall tales. Featuring Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham Carter, Jessica Lange, Steve Buscemi, and Danny DeVito, the cast is quite impressive and delivers some strong performance. And, Burton does an impressive job at creating a fairytale like aesthetic that enhances the tone of the film. Entertaining and compelling, Big Fish is a charming and sincere tale that has a certain magic of its own.
    Dann M 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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