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Big Fish (2003)

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A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Daniel Wallace (novel), John August (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,312 ( 100)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Ed Bloom - Young
Albert Finney ... Ed Bloom - Senior
Billy Crudup ... Will Bloom
Jessica Lange ... Sandra Bloom - Senior
Helena Bonham Carter ... Jenny - Young / Jenny - Senior / The Witch
Alison Lohman ... Sandra Bloom - Young
Robert Guillaume ... Dr. Bennett - Senior
Marion Cotillard ... Josephine Bloom
Matthew McGrory ... Karl the Giant
David Denman ... Don Price - Age 18-22
Missi Pyle ... Mildred
Loudon Wainwright III ... Beamen (as Loudon Wainwright)
Ada Tai ... Ping
Arlene Tai ... Jing
Steve Buscemi ... Norther Winslow
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Storyline

United Press International journalist Will Bloom and his French freelance photojournalist wife Josephine Bloom, who is pregnant with their first child, leave their Paris base to return to Will's hometown of Ashton, Alabama on the news that his father, Edward Bloom, stricken with cancer, will soon die, he being taken off chemotherapy treatment. Although connected indirectly through Will's mother/Edward's wife, Sandra Bloom, Will has been estranged from his father for three years since his and Josephine's wedding. Will's issue with his father is the fanciful tales Edward has told of his life all his life, not only to Will but the whole world. As a child when Edward was largely absent as a traveling salesman, Will believed those stories, but now realizes that he does not know his father, who, as he continues to tell these stories, he will never get to know unless Edward comes clean with the truth before he dies. On the brink of his own family life beginning, Will does not want to be the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An adventure as big as life itself.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

9 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran pez See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$207,377, 14 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$66,257,002, 14 March 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$122,919,055
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ada and Arlene Tai (Ping and Jing) are twins, though not conjoined. They were attached at the hip and waist with a metal corset-like contraption to fit into the custom dress for their stage performance. They did not do their own singing, however. When their legs needed to appear on camera, two of them were digitally removed. See more »

Goofs

In the early 1950s, Edward learns that Sandra attends Auburn University. In reality, however, the University was known as the Alabama Polytechnic Institute until 1960. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Ed Bloom: There are some fish that cannot be caught. It's not that they are faster or stronger than other fish, they're just touched by something extra.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia logo runs in reverse. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Take Me Somewhere Nice (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Everyday
Written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty
Performed by Buddy Holly
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very sweet, imaginative story despite lacking a strong conclusion
8 February 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Will Bloom feels like he doesn't really know his father - his habit of telling exaggerated and untrue stories instead of the truth. They don't speak for several years until Will hears that Ed is on his deathbed and returns home. He hopes to find out the truth behind the stories but can only get more of the same without doing some digging.

Even having watched the trailer I was unsure exactly what this film was about, but I trusted that Burton's imagination would carry it. Having seen it, the film can best be described as being about story telling in that the film is more about the wonder of the stories told than the actual narrative in terms of start/middle/end. In terms of the traditional idea of narrative, the film is not perfect - it is not as meaningful or as satisfying as I would have hoped, and this is shown in an ending that, although sweet, is not as neat as I would have hoped. However the telling - that's where it is at.

The stories told are wonderfully whimsical and amusing, like the film states the stories have elements of truth but also be coloured by Bloom to add life to them. For me, it was very simple to get involved in the tall tales and I was held in the spell of Ed's stories easily - even thought it never came to a `real' solution I was still captivated by just how sweet and imaginative it all was. If it sounds like I'm having trouble putting my words together it is because I found the film quite hard to quantify - all I know is that I found the whole experience to be very sweet and enjoyable despite it not really amounting to much in the grand scheme of things. In this regard the film is a consistently imaginative fantasy film that is gently humorous and outright funny at times.

The cast are pretty good. I was originally a little put off by McGregor's Alabama accent and it took me a minute to get past it, but other that his performance was very good and he helped create the film's mood of wonder and whimsy. I think both McGregor and Finney needed to have that sort of accent - I don't know why but it is a storyteller's accent and it does help the material. Finney is good and manages to keep the spirit of McGregor's character going despite not being surrounded by the images to support him. The support cast works well whether they be tall giants or well-known cameos from Buscemi, Carter and Devito. Lange, Crudup and Cotillard are all good but it is easily McGregor and Finney's film.

Overall some will find the lack of structure and real substance to be a problem - after all, this is a film about tall tales and not everyone will be able to enjoy that. However this is a wonderfully light and fun bit of whimsy that is a lot better than I expected it to be. While it may not amount to a great deal more than that, it can still be enjoyed for what it is - a great fun story!


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