Big Fish is a Tim Burton film, so you’d expect it to be a bit on the surreal side. It’s about Will making a last attempt to understand his dying father, Edward Bloom, who has always told tall tales about the events of his life. These tall tales are told in flashback form with the young Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) encountering giants, werewolves, witches and conjoined twins, amongst other characters, while portraying himself as an over-achiever in every possible way. What’s kind of enchanting about the film is that you never quite know what’s real and what’s not. Much like the character of Will, as a viewer you spend the whole time trying to work out what’s true, what contains elements of truth, and what’s completely made up, but by the end it doesn’t really matter anyway. Everyone wants to live in a fairytale in one way or another, so what’s the harm in stretching the truth a little? As the older Edward Bloom says, “most men will tell you a story straight true, it won’t be complicated but it won’t be interesting either.” You might never know quite what’s true in Big Fish, but it certainly is interesting.
It’s got a great cast, with Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham-Carter (of course) and lovely Marion Cotillard taking the most captivating roles, and all the scenery’s so beautiful and colourful that it really is a joy to watch. Occasionally I did wonder if there was a double layer of meaning that I wasn’t quite grasping – is the town of Spectre meant to be a place for the dead, or am I reading too much into the bare foot, people never leave aspects? I just don’t know. Truth be told, even when things were explained as much as they’re ever going to be explained in a film like this, there were still parts of it that didn’t really make sense to me, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a fun film to watch, and I liked the fact that anything could happen next and there were no boundaries in terms of what could and couldn’t feasibly happen. The general gist seems to be that there is some element of truth in the tales of Edward Bloom, but he elaborates for the purposes of telling a good story. Just go with it and enjoy the lovely colours, and you can’t really go wrong. It’s a nice film filled with imagination, and that’s all you really need to know.