Big Fish is a 2003 American fantasy drama adventure film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks. The screenplay was written by John August and is based on the novel Big Fish: A Novel of Epic Proportions by Daniel Wallace.
Rated: PG-13 (movie contains fighting, brief nudity and suggestive references)
Run Time: 2h 5min
Release Date: January 9, 2004 (USA)
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
Director: Tim Burton
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Budget: $70 Million
Box Office: $122.9 Million
Big Fish stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohmman, Robert Guillaume, Marion Cotillard, Matthew McGrory, David Denman, Missi Pyle, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito, Miley Cyrus and Deep Roy.
Big Fish is the story of the incredible life of Edward Bloom (Albert Finney), a charismatic story teller and his estranged son Will (Billy Crudup) who is an international journalist. Will gets news from his mother Sandra (Jessica Lange) that his father is stricken with cancer and the doctors have decided to discontinue chemotherapy treatments. She tells him that he should return to see him one last time before he passes.
Upon hearing the news, Will and his wife Josephine (Marion Cotillard), a French freelance photojournalist who is pregnant with their first child, leave their Paris home to return to Will’s hometown of Ashton, Alabama. Will has not spoken to his father since his wedding where he married Josephine 3 years ago. Will’s issue with his father is the fanciful tales Edward has told of his life, throughout his life, not only to Will but the whole world.
With a child on the way, Will doesn’t want to be the kind of father Edward was to him. Edward was a traveling salesman and largely absent. As a result, Will believes his father to be a liar that never really cared for his family. Now, sitting at his fathers bedside, Will begs him father to be himself. He so dearly wants to figure out who he really was. He wants to finally separate the fact from fiction in all of his stories. His father tells Will that he has been nothing but himself since the day he was born, and if he can’t see that, it is his fault and not Edward’s.
Meanwhile, his father suffers a stroke and is no longer able to tell stories. He is able to ask to tell him a story of how his life ends. Deciding to play along, Will tells his own impromptu tall tale. His father regains some strength and Will tells him that they escape from the hospital and jump into Edwards old car and they speed to a nearby river, where all their friends and family are waiting. Instead of a funeral, they are holding a goodbye party, and Edward happily bids them farewell as he transforms into a catfish and swims away. Shortly afterwords, Edward passes. Will is the only one present when his father dies and is deeply happy they connected at last.
At Edward’s funeral, Will, Josephine, Sandra and Edward’s doctor are the only ones in attendance. Then a long line of cars, vans and buses arrive and it is here that Will becomes astonished to see all of the characters from Edward’s stories show up to pay their respects to Edward. However, each of them is slightly less fantastical than they’re described in Edward’s stories. It finally becomes clear that Edward had combined his love for storytelling with his own reality, which finally made sense to Will. When his own son is born, Will passes the stories on to him, remarking that his father became his stories allowing him to live forever.
“There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they are faster or stronger than the other fish, they’re just touched by somethin’ extra.” – Ed Bloom (Young)
“You were a big fish in a small pond, but this here is the ocean and you’re drownin’. Take my advice, go back to Puddleville; you’ll be happy there.” – Amos Calloway
“It was that night I discovered that most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely, and lackin’ in the social niceties.” – Ed Bloom (Young)
“In tellin’ 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 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.” – William Bloom
“They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true. What they don’t tell you is that when it starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up.” – Ed Bloom (Senior)
“A man tells his story so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.” – William Bloom (Young)
Official Movie Trailer
Ewan McGreggor as Ed Bloom (Young)
Albert Finney as Ed Bloom (Senior)
Billy Crudup as Will Bloom
Jessica Lange as Sandra Bloom
Helena Bonham Carter as Jenny (Young) / The Witch
Alison Lohman as Sandra Bloom (Young)
Robert Guillaume as Dr. Bennett (Senior)
Marion Cotillard as Josephine Bloom
Matthew McGrory as Karl the Giant
David Denman as Don Price (Age 18-22)
Missi Pyle as Mildred
Steve Buscemi as Northern Winslow
Danny DeVito as Amos Calloway
Miley Cyrus as Ruthie (Age 8)
Deep Roy as Mr. Soggybottom