A lot of people think that innocence is something that we loose, as we get older. Our look on the world becomes less of a magical place and something that is meaner and cold. But were not loosing innocence. It is actually ambition. As children, we look at our parents and think about what we want to be when we grow up. Do we want to step into the shoes of our mom and dad or do we want to find our own path. I think what sets us forever is how we see them. If they’re happy, we want to contain that same feeling as adults. If not, then we want to become the opposite to avoid falling into the same barrel as they’re in.
Either way, we’re all set out with these goals. But each time we’ve hit a curve, whether it is a failed spelling test or a spout of puppy love, our drive to do better seems to claim another prick on our sensitive skin. We can heal, but the wound on our ambition hurts and we lose faith on ourselves and end up somewhere else. The only way to fight is to work with the ambition you have. Ambition is a big theme in the Tim Burton fantasy, Big Fish.
Will Bloom (played by Billy Crudup) does not have a good relationship with his father. Edward Bloom (played by Albert Finney) likes to tell a lot of stories that often don’t make since. All Will has wanted was the truth. He’s worried that he’ll end up having the same relationship with his own son. Sometime later, Edward’s health starts to fail, and Will comes down to confront him. When asked about the honest truth of his life, Edward tells his son the same stories that he’s told before.
As a young man, Edward (played by Ewan McGregor) felt that his town was too small for him. After graduating high school, he and a misunderstood giant Karl (played by Matthew McGrory) set out into the world to see what they can make of themselves. The first stop is a small town in the middle of the woods where everyone likes to walk barefoot. The next is a three-year job at the circus where Edward sees his future wife Sandra (played by Alison Lohman). The story of Edward’s life takes Will on a journey that makes him understand why his father wanted to be known as a storyteller.
I can’t talk about Big Fish unless I also bring up Forrest Gump. Both films are about seemingly ordinary people telling their life stories that seem to be unreliable narrators. Both rely on their audiences to have faith in the credibility of their stories. The thing that separates Big Fish from Forrest Gump is the more visual and artsy narrative. I really love how much Tim Burton crafted Alabama into a fantasy-like gothic atmosphere. Like his pervious film, Burton knows how to take the real world and turn it into an imaginative Never Land.
Big Fish benefits from a likable ensemble cast that also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi, and even a then unknown Miley Cyrus. They all add to the formula that is Big Fish. This is such a wonderful movie that knows when to be happy, sad, dark, and rewarding. Though it doesn’t seem like it, this may have been Tim Burton’s most personal film, as the plot has to do with a dying parent and the relationship with their children. This is the kind of movie that makes me question my relationship with my relatives.
I’ll give this five fantasy giants out of five. Big Fish proves that everyone has an amazing life story. It’s just how we tell it determines how tall the tale can be.