Sunday, July 30, 2006

Movie Review: Big Fish

This is a movie about two men. One, the father, loves stories, the more elaborate the better. The taller the better. No truth should go unvarnished, and no situation too magical to be told. He's the hero of all his stories, of course, and he's a fabulous guy. The other, the son, has heard all of his father's stories. But all these years later he feels like his father has told him nothing about the truth, so he doesn't know his father. He stops talking to his father until his father is on his deathbed, sick with cancer.

This is a story about stories. What do they mean to us? Why do we, as human beings, insist on fiction, which is really one big lie, piled on top of another? What does it say about our self-image? Do storytellers really reach for immortality --- does the story, told and retold pass down the essence of the story? Do we embellish our stories about ourselves? Why do we do so? Is our reality truly so drab that we have to spice up our stories with embellishments?

I love Tim Burton's style in this movie. It reminds me very much of his fable, Edwards Scissorhands. The fantastic parts of the stories are illustrated in lush bright colors, in a beautiful palette that reminds us that we're in a larger than life world. The framing story is filmed in a semi-documentary fashion. The actors are fantastic, and the editing well-done. My only beef with his work is that I think he left the running time a bit longer than necessary to make his point, and I would have ended the movie with the son picking up the phone --- the funeral wasn't really necessary.

All in all, this is a good movie worth watching. Highly recommended.
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