Essentially a love story (both romantic and father to son), Big Fish is a wonderful, imaginative fairy-tale, regaling the viewer with story after story. Any fans of strong cinema or fans of good story telling will love this movie.
Director Tim Burton (Batman, Sleepy Hollow) is a talented, original film-maker, and was a strong choice to direct. He often makes fairy-stories, and here he has left behind much of his trademark gothic darkness, replacing it instead with light and cheer and simple imagination.
(Big Fish is also a return to form after Planet of the Apes - but let's not go there)
Billy Crudup plays Will Bloom, who returns home when his father Ed (Albert Finney) has cancer. He feels as though he doesn't know his father, who only tells tall tales embellished stories to entertain.
Based on the book by Daniel Wallace, the inventive and clever plot revolves around the story of Ed Bloom's life (Ewan McGregor plays the younger Ed Bloom), and his love for his wife Sandra. It's almost like Forrest Gump, in that Ed enjoys a rich and exciting life which may never have really happened. Midgets, cars in trees, picture-perfect towns, big fish and giants all meld together with remarkable fun.
Albert Finney and Jessica Lange portray their characters with realism, and sitting that style of acting against a fanciful plot works cleverly. The acting and the plot offset and compound each other, making the movie stronger.
This is sheer genius movie-making, and interestingly, works without violence or the need to shock or scare. Brilliant work.