Big Fish - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Big Fish Reviews

February 9, 2006
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.
August 7, 2004
Overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.
March 16, 2004
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 8, 2004
A compelling look at the relationships between fathers and sons, and the child coming to terms with the parent's mortality.
December 26, 2003
A long-winded indulgence in tear-and-a-smile whimsy.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
December 26, 2003
A disappointingly dull thud of a fantasy.
December 26, 2003
Somewhat like Forrest Gump on a high colonic.
December 25, 2003
Burton's fabled imagination runs wild with this material, and Big Fish often achieves a whimsical, poetic beauty.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 25, 2003
Clocking in at two hours, it runs way too long for a flight of fancy, packs a couple of false endings, and, a first for Burton, feels flat and familiar, like recycled Ray Bradbury.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
December 25, 2003
For me, a Will who wishes she were an Edward, the movie inspired by the Daniel Wallace novel is a minor classic.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
December 25, 2003
Herniated whimsy -- straining, as labored as those poor Brits who stuff their mouths with grits and try to talk like Southerners.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
December 25, 2003
Burton, who has clung to the trappings of precocious genius well into his 40s, demonstrates a new emotional maturity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 25, 2003
An enchanting tale from Tim Burton that weaves together reality and myth so touchingly it hardly matters which is which.
Read More | Original Score: A-
December 25, 2003
Funny, touching, smart, whimsical, dazzling and, at times, downright magical.
Read More | Original Score: B+
December 25, 2003
It's gentle and pleasing and I appreciated the mixture of oddness, whimsy and emotion that informs Burton's search for the place where truth and fiction meet.
Read More | Original Score: B+
December 25, 2003
A bountiful pleasure.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 25, 2003
Offers its audience a long and winding road, with refreshing pauses. And it proves that mega-budgets have not spoiled Tim Burton's vision.
Full Review | Original Score: B
December 25, 2003
There is no denying that Will has a point: The old man is a blowhard. There is a point at which his stories stop working as entertainment and segue into sadism.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 25, 2003
The picture's images linger.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 25, 2003
Mostly confined to bed throughout the film, Finney pulls us to him with a flawless combination of theatrical skill and movie-star radiance.
Read More | Original Score: A
December 25, 2003
A whopper of a movie, told by the master of the modern-day fairy tale, Tim Burton.
Read More | Original Score: 4.5/5
December 25, 2003
Burton has not given his imagination such free rein since Edward Scissorhands, and this stands with that and the equally generous Ed Wood as one of his best movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
December 23, 2003
The imaginatively illustrated but precariously precious film offers up a string of minor pleasures but never becomes more than moderately amusing or involving.
December 23, 2003
Big Fish is so strange and so literary that audiences seeking conventional fare may get impatient with it. But it always takes effort to catch the big ones. This one is worth it.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 22, 2003
... an amazing looking film.
December 16, 2003
Big Fish makes a big push for transcendence, but the strain shows. It's like trying to push a daydream uphill.
December 11, 2003
A load of tripe that no attempt on my part could make sound half as pretentious and conceited as it really is.
December 10, 2003
The whole seems disjointed, incoherent and lacking in the startling originality of the other two Edwards (Scissorhands and Wood) who, half a career back, poured from Burton's distended outsider imagination.
December 10, 2003
You'd think that Burton, whose movies can be so invigoratingly nasty or so hypnotically moody, would be able to pull off a gentle, mainstream crowd-pleaser without making it dull or preachy. But Big Fish is both.
December 10, 2003
Big Fish takes a while to get its bearings, but it gets better and better.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 10, 2003
A change-up delivery from a director seeking relief from his artful image, the movie wants to catch our ears rather than our eyes, and it does so without completely reeling us in.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
December 10, 2003
Big Fish flounders largely because Burton leaves out the meaning of the story, which was about the seductive power of fiction. In offering no meaning besides pictures, Big Fish has no power at all.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
December 10, 2003
Burton's best film since Edward Scissorhands.
December 10, 2003
The most curious thing about this magical-realist fable ... is how thin and soft it is, how unpersuasive and ultimately forgettable even its most strenuous inventions turn out to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
December 10, 2003
There are quirks aplenty in Big Fish, but spirited performances from a talented cast, led by a standout Finney as the slippery-fish raconteur, help domesticate the wall-to-wall weirdness.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 10, 2003
The movie has a great deal of charm and several good performances, but it is the son's judgmental doggedness that sets the story in motion and leads to its mawkish conclusion. It's a hurdle I couldn't get over.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 10, 2003
Big fish often swim in small ponds, but in Tim Burton's wistful new film about a son, a father and the lies that come between them there are no small ponds -- just big, bright movie sets shimmering and bubbling with the director's imagination.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/5
December 9, 2003
Big Fish is a clever, smart fantasy that targets the child inside every adult, without insulting the intelligence of either.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 9, 2003
The ideas keep percolating, but in the absence of any particular tension, the movie has its longueurs.
December 4, 2003
Not only is Mr. Burton at the top of his form in endowing his tallest stories and wildest magical conceits with emotional conviction, but he is aided by a superb acting ensemble that never loses its footing in the treacherous swamps of make-believe.
December 4, 2003
A gently overstuffed cinematic piņata, crammed with tall tales -- with giants and circuses and fairy-tale woods, plus a huge squirmy catfish, all served up with a literal matter-of-fact fancy that is very pleasing.
Full Review | Original Score: B
December 1, 2003
Belabored oddity that is one long-winded tall tale illustrated with hammy, artificial sets and gee-whiz acting.
November 20, 2003
Director Tim Burton finally hooks the one that got away: a script that challenges and deepens his visionary talent.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4