Release Date: 2003
Director: Tim Burton
Why I picked this: Recommendation from multiple friends
I am sometimes annoyed by Tim Burton’s style in his movies, but for once, I found myself really appreciating it. “Big Fish” is a movie about father-son relationships, the power of storytelling, and the strange paths we encounter in the long journey of life. Billy Crudup plays a recently married son whose father Edward, played by Albert Finney (and Ewan McGregor as his younger self) and known for his tall tales and exaggerating when telling his life stories, is dying. Crudup’s character tries to find the truth behind his father’s stories, while the narrative shifts to Edward’s life story, told in tall tale form. This is where Tim Burton’s visual style is put into place, as his tall tales are fantastical, with bizarre scenarios and larger-than-life and magical characters. Edward’s life is presented as a fairy tale, a fairy tale that resonates with the audience. What resonated even more was the father-son relationship between Crudup and Finney’s characters, as the nature and reasoning of Edward’s stories become more clear. The ending is very emotional, and while I didn’t cry (I don’t cry during movies), I did find myself touched. Crudup’s character, wants to know what to take from his father, as he too is becoming a father. In the final stage of his relationship with Edward, he truly connects with him. If you’ve lost your father like Edward, you may cry. If you haven’t, you still might cry.
Not only does Tim Burton’s weird style work with the fantastical script, but the movie successfully makes an emotional connection with its perspective on the father-son relationship.