Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Night Magical Movie: Big Fish

Tall tales are the order of the day in this charming story that is ultimately all about love.  Big Fish is a 2003 Tim Burton film that embraces legend, myth and fantasy in a very real way. 

The story revolves around Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor/Albert Finney) who has chosen to view his life in the way that he wants to, he has woven his entire life as a story of legend, fantastical stories which he revels in telling and re-telling much to the chagrin of his son.  Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) grew up hearing the stories, and now that he's a grown man, he has become disenchanted with his fathers tall tales, especially now that his father is very sick and dying. Will feels like he doesn't know his father at all, only his fairytale versions of him.  Will returns home to attempt to reconcile his feelings and get to know the real man while he has the chance.  "In telling the story of my father's life, it's impossible to separate fact from fiction, the man from the myth. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me. It doesn't always make sense and most of it never happened... but that's what kind of story this is."
Ed Bloom catches the Big Fish, a lady fish on the day his son is born.  The bait he used?  His wedding ring, so of course he had to get it back!

This movie flashes back to times in Edward Blooms life, showing the stories that he tells about the events that shaped his life, and every one of them is a fantastic story full of magic, amazing people and amazing feats!  The same theme always arises one way or another, his love for his beautiful wife Sandra.(/Alison Lohman/Jessica Lange)  As Jenny who wanted him to stay with her was sad to realize, there were only two women to Edward, Sandra the love of his life, and everyone else.
This concept is illustrated by the fact that that Helena Bonham Carter plays both the oddly demure Jenny and the mysterious Witch with the magical glass eye from the town where he grows up. 
Will:" Logically, you couldn’t be the Witch, because she was old back when he was young."
Jenny: "No, it’s logical if you think like your father. See, to him, there’s only two women: your mother and everyone else."
The stories Edward tells about his life are simply amazing, and the most fun part of this movie!  He is the hero of his town when he convinces a giant that's scaring everyone to move on.
Edward and Carl decide the town of Ashton just isn't big enough for either of them and plan to hit the road.
He discovers the elusive and idyllic town of Spectre which he leaves but later returns to save.
Edward arrives in Spectre too early and meets Jenny.
Edward works in a circus for awhile with the sole purpose of learning information about his future wife Sandra, who he manages to win over with a series of romantic gestures  including a field of daffodils, her favorite flower. 
The first time Edward sees Sandra, time stops, but then it goes faster to catch up and he looses her in the crowd, but is totally smitten forever!

"I called everywhere in five states and explained this was the only way I could get my wife to marry me."

He tames a werewolf, survives a flood, robs a bank with a poet, crashes his plane during the Korean war and is rescued by singing conjoined twins, and yes, even catches a very big fish! 
"I need twice the man
Cause baby, I've got twice the love to give"
The circus ringmaster is played perfectly curmudgeonly by Danny DeVito, who is a riot, and his sidekick clown/attorney Mr. Soggybottom played by the awesome Deep Roy.  I loved Steve Buscemi as Spectres poet laureate Norther Winslow. 
"Roses are red, Violets are blue...I love Spectre,"  Norther Winslow and his poet groupies.

Wills charming and pregnant wife Josephine is played by the lovely Marion Cotillard, I love her character, she's patient and kind listening to Edwards stories and seems so truly caring.  I also loved the kindly giant Carl, played wonderfully by Matthew McGory, just misunderstood, and so hungry.  Awww.

So what does Edwards son Will discover about his dad in the end?  Is he for real, or just a big fish story?  Well if you haven't seen it, I'm not delivering a spoiler, but I do recommend that you watch this fanciful story about magic, imagination and love with someone you're sweet on!
"Sometimes, the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring."

"A man tells so many stories, that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal."

Monday Movie Featured Item:

The Hazel Card print from Voice of the Trees official Etsy shop.

The Celtic legend of how the great  Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn maCOOL) caught a magical fish and gained wisdom and inspiration is another great fish story.  This is the hazel card from my Voice of the Trees deck.  The hazel card represents wisdom, and inspiration and speaks of looking at the world in a new way or bringing your own creativity to life.  This is the way Edward Bloom in the film Big Fish lived his whole life.  He turned himself into a larger than life legend and found magic and mystery in every thing that he did.  He also lived like the traditional Irish storyteller, weaving tales that captured the imaginations of those who heard them. 



  1. I LOVE this movie!! Although it is not his usual style, this is probably my most favourite Burton movie.

  2. You know, I think you may be right, it may be his best film. And, yes, even people who aren't into Tim Burton movies could get into this one, it's very different. I love this one too, I always want to cry at the end, so sweet!


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