Written by John August

Directed by Tim Burton

Running Time: 2:05

Rated PG-13
for a fight scene,
some images of nudity
and a suggestive reference.


Ewan McGregor
as Young Ed Bloom

Albert Finney
as Senior Ed Bloom

Billy Crudup
as Will Bloom

Jessica Lange
as Senior Sandra Bloom

Alison Lohman
as Young Sandra Bloom

Helena Bonham Carter
as Jenny/The Witch

Robert Guillaume
as Senior Dr. Bennett

Matthew McGrory
as Karl

Loudon Wainwright III
as Beamen

Steve Buscemi
as Norther Winslow

Danny DeVito
as Amos Calloway

Big Fish
Big Fish

Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor


I am a fan of Tim Burton, so I wanted to see Big Fish in a big way. But what I found was more of a laid back Tim Burton, where he reigned in his trademark quirkiness yet still made a very entertaining film.


Ed Bloom loves to tell tall tales. His son Will has heard them all a dozen times. But when, on Will's wedding day, Ed once again steals the spotlight with his stories, Will has had enough. He stops talking to Dad for years, until Ed becomes terminally ill. Will decides to go talk to his dad and see if, for once, Ed will tell him the truth. But Ed sticks to his stories and tells the one of how landing a big fish ended up leading to him meeting his wife. The tale involves a giant, a circus, a perfect town in the middle of nowhere, and witch with the ability to show you how you're gonna die. What is real, and what is fiction? That's for you to decide.


When you think of Tim Burton, you think of big, comical sets, over the top action and a man with an eye for sets. The reason I like him so much is that his attention to detail is amazing, and the looks of all his movies are inspiring. Big Fish was a beautifully shot film that had some of the Tim Burton elements we expect, but it was also an actor's film, and that's something I don't really think about when it comes to a Burton movie. Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney both give great performances as the young and elder Ed Bloom and their belief in what they say is what drives the film. Had they played the roles as people who knew they were exaggerating the stories, it would have come off as unexciting and unbelieveable. But they totally felt that what they were saying was the truth and from that belief, the audience gets sucked in to wondering if any or all of it was real.

The way the story was structured, allowing us to see present day, then fade back into the past as the stories came alive, was a great way to make the movie engaging. Instead of one big flashback, we could see how the characters of today reacted to these stories, which allowed us as the audience to wonder right along with them, rather than accept everything as the gospel. But it was the stories themselves, and how they came to life that made the film. How Burton managed to film the giant so that he truly looked 15 feet tall was incredible. At no point could I see anything that would make it look cheap and computer generated. Having Danny Devito as the circus ringmaster was inspiring casting. And is it just me or was Alison Lohman a dead ringer for a young Jessica Lange? Even though I knew it was a different actress, for just one second I thought someone did a tremendous makeup job.

There were moment of Tim Burton-ness that were thrown in to the film. The witch who could see your death, and especially the town in the middle of nowhere, with the great Steve Buscemi smack in the middle of it. It was a town that harkened back to the perfect little world of Edward Scissorhands where everything looked great, but there was still something lurking on the outside. But what sets this movie apart from other Tim Burton films, as I mentioned earlier, was his willingness to let the actors carry the film, rather than the sets. Ewan McGregor's happy-go-luck young Ed was the kind of character one roots for in film. I'm not saying I couldn't see another actor in the role, Jude Law comes to mind, but McGregor, who is known for taking both static and off-center roles, played this character with a happy earnestness that was so enjoyable that even though you know he's going to end up with the girl, you still want to see exactly how it happens. I think while this may not be Tim Burton's best film, it is his best directing effort to date. And I for one can't wait to see the rumored Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake with him directing Johnny Depp. How cool is that gonna be?


So overall, I enjoyed Big Fish. It wasn't your typical Tim Burton type of film, but in some ways, it was better. It wasn't the best I've seen, but it was enjoyable throughout and worth a look.

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