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BIG FISH (2003)
Big Fish is simply the story of a big man in a small town whose fate has destined him to leave a legacy of amazing feats and adventure to pass onto his son. But Ed Bloom's stories seem all too fabricated for his son Will, and as he outgrows their novelty, so too does her outgrow his relationship with his father. It isn't until Ed Bloom is diagnosed with cancer that Will forces himself to return to his childhood home in hopes of mending his relationships and uncovering the truth behind the question, "Who is Edward Bloom?"
Directed by: Tim Burton. Written by: Daniels Wallace (novel) and John August (screenplay).
Genre: Drama, fantasy, adventure, comedy.
Tagline: "Not everything your father says is a complete fabrication."
Rated: PG13 for a fight scene, and some images of nudity and a suggestive reference.
Will Bloom is simply sick and tired of his father's fish tales. After Ed Bloom ruins Will's wedding by hoarding the spotlight with another over-fabricated tale of fantasy, Will and Ed part ways, not to speak again until a sudden phone call years later. Upon discovering his father's fight with cancer, Will and his wife Josephine head to Ashton to help Will's mom, Sandra, take care of Ed during his final days. But while there, Will is hoping to mend his relationship with his father, and, get down to the truth of whom Ed Bloom really is.
As a series of small disputes emerge between father and son, Will tries to cope with understanding that maybe Ed Bloom isn't a total liar. With his wife Josephine offering an attentive ear, Will overhears the recounted tales of Ed's past time as they are told to his wife. A spectacular tale that goes something like this?
As a young man Ed Bloom always felt he was too big for his small town of Ashton. In desperate need of adventure Ed took it upon himself to seize every opportunity in Ashton for challenge and praise. But when a gentle giant makes his way through his small town, it is Ed's sudden companionship to Carl the giant that prompts his long hiatus from his small town. Together, Ed and Carl head out in search of a new town and a new life. On their journey, Ed discovers the beautiful town of Specter, Alabama: smaller than Ashton, but memorable in its distinctness. It is there too that Ed meets the young Jenny who, from day one, is head over heels in love.
But Ed moves on, leaving Specter and its people behind. As he tackles one adventure to the next, he and Carl stumble upon the traveling circus show, owned by werewolf-man Amos Calloway. Agreeing to work in exchange for facts, Ed and Carl travel with the circus while Ed learns of the beautiful Sandra Templeton. After two years of servitude, Ed leaves the circus in search of his love, only to find her engaged to former childhood bully of Ashton. But Ed's persistence and Don Price's sudden death, allow Sandra to make Ed the happiest man on earth.
It isn't long however, before Ed's adventures call him to the army, a bank robbery, a traveling salesman job, and back to Specter, where he helps Jenny put her life back together. Eventually however, Ed makes his way back home, to settle down and share his life with the beautiful Sandra Bloom.
Flash forward to a very ill Ed Bloom dying in the hospital with his son at his side. In a last attempt to heal their relationship, Will Bloom participates in what he never thought possible, the telling of a big fish tale that fabricates his father's death so that Ed may die in peace. But when Will sees his tale come to life, more or less, the day of Ed's funeral, it isn't long before he realizes that his father simply was a big fish in a small pond.
"BIG FISH" is a spectacular joy of a film. With a simple yet touching plot, Tim Burton unveils the fantastical story of Edward Bloom and his love of story telling. Of course, as Burton would have it, the film includes many unconventional, less-than-realistic twists and turns, which is part of what makes the film so fantastic. It is touching, riveting, and will leave you smiling and crying all at once.
By far some of the best scenes involve Ed Bloom as a young man; for that of course, is where all the action lay. Ed Bloom is a man larger than life itself and his tale reflects his grandeur in all its unrealistic glory. The more poignant scenes are then developed in the present tense: the struggling wife, the resentful son, and the willful daughter-in-law. "BIG FISH" is so amazing precisely because it is so real. It is the simple story of a father and son's trials and tribulations during their lifelong journey towards understanding one another, with, perhaps, a little fabrication here and there.
Young Ed Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor, is the confidant, over-zealous big-man of small town Ashton whose hiatus from his hometown takes him on an amazing journey of self-discovery and adventure.
Senior Ed Bloom, played by Albert Finney, is the colorful old man whose love of story telling and his wife are his only saving graces as he battles cancer.
Will Bloom, played by Billy Crudup, is the resentful son of Ed Bloom, who is tired of his father's fabrications and desperate to uncover the truth behind his father's legacy.
The Witch, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is the all-seeing witch of Ashton whose evil eye reveals your fate.
Young and Senior Jenny, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is the pretty girl from Specter whose naivet' and youth prompt a life-long crush on the amiable Ed Bloom.
Young Sandra Bloom, played by Alison Lohman, is the innocent beauty that steals Ed Bloom's heart and becomes hi wife.
Senior Sandra Bloom played by Jessica Lange, is the aged wife of Ed Bloom, mother of Will Bloom, who is desperately clinging to faith as the love of her life lay slowly dying in her bed.
Josephine, played by Marion Cotillard, is Will Bloom's pregnant French wife, whose romantic ways provide an attentive ear for Ed Bloom's final tales.
Karl, played by Matthew McGrory, is the gentle giant taken under Ed Bloom's wing.
Amos Calloway, played by Danny De Vito, is your typical greasy, wily circus-leader/werewolf who takes in Karl and Ed under the pretense of 'involuntary servitude'. It isn't until much later in the film that Calloway's soft side is exposed.
Norther Winslow, played by Steve Buscemi, is Ashton's best poet and most famed bank robber whose ironic life story intersects with Bloom's on more than one occasion.