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Big Fish

Adventure . Fantasy . Drama

The story revolves around a dying father and his son, who is trying to learn more about his dad by piecing together the stories he has gathered over the years. The son winds up re-creating his father's elusive life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, the son begins to understand his father's great feats and his great failings.

Actors: David Denman , Matthew McGrory , Robert Guillaume , Marion Cotillard , Alison Lohman , Helena Bonham Carter , Jessica Lange , Billy Crudup , Albert Finney , Ewan McGregor
Directors: Tim Burton
Country: USA
Release: 2004-01-09
More Info:
  • Glenn Kenny

    Big Fish really is a big delight.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Clint Morris

    A tale that's so enriching, so heartwarming, so funny, so touching and so breathtaking, you'll wonder why the king of wackiness didn't branch out sooner.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Director Tim Burton finally hooks the one that got away: a script that challenges and deepens his visionary talent.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    A word of warning. Big Fish is so strange and so literary that audiences seeking conventional fare may get impatient with it. But it always takes effort to catch the big ones. This one is worth it.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Megan Lehmann

    Even with Burton's imagination turning its trademark cartwheels, the film's big beating heart holds the whimsical offshoots steady.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Has enough tasty bait to satisfy an array of moviegoers: Burton fans, Albert Finney fans, fans of tall tales well spun by experts and fans of movies that don't look like any other.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    This picture boasts a story about a yarn-spinning Southern father (Albert Finney) and a sober-sided son (Billy Crudup) that gives it ballast and staying power beyond anything in previous, precious Burton fables like "Edward Scissorhands" or "Ed Wood."

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Rick Kisonak

    An achievement of this magnitude is a stunning and extremely pleasant surprise.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Ian Freer

    In anchoring the whimsy to something more heartfelt, Burton is greatly aided by Billy Crudup, who underplays potentially cringeworthy bedside scenes with his dying dad.

    Empire Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Burton rebounds in a big way with Big Fish, a Daniel Wallace adaptation and visual feast that recaptures the fairy-tale simplicity and wrenching emotional power of "Edward Scissorhands."

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • David Ansen

    When it catches fire, this great-looking movie offers hilarious diversions.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    Burton's film is an American version of the Odyssey.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Big Fish is a clever, smart fantasy that targets the child inside every adult, without insulting the intelligence of either.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Like virtually all fish stories, it's discursive, funny, full of boasting, a suspect mix of truth and lies with an emphasis on the latter.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The movie is a gently overstuffed cinematic piñata, crammed with tall tales -- with giants and circuses and fairy-tale woods, plus a huge squirmy catfish, all served up with a literal matter-of-fact fancy that is very pleasing.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Too well-made and well-acted to be entirely cute -- but the result is fairly tepid in comparison to the overheated highlights of Burton's career.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Such astringent details as a banjo player plucking a few ominous notes from "Dueling Banjos" when Ed first lays eyes on the Norman Rockwellian beauty of Spectre ensure that the story's fundamental sweetness never becomes cloying.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    There's delight to be had from watching Burton conjure up one fantastical Edward-inspired scenario after another.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • William Arnold

    An engagingly whimsical, sporadically charming, frequently very funny Southern Gothic fantasy that somehow doesn't quite come together to be as magical or meaningful as it's intended to be.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Big Fish of course is a great-looking film, with a fantastical visual style that could be called Felliniesque if Burton had not by now earned the right to the adjective Burtonesque.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    This is a theme tailor-made for Burton, although there are times in the movie when it feels like he's not taking enough advantage of it.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    But Burton and August have added ­anger to the mix, and it sours much of the otherwise wondrous tone.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    The actor's job here is the hardest to pull off, since practical skepticism in a Tim Burton picture is next to villainy. Yet Crudup suggests complex grown-up feelings that makes the rest of Big Fish feel like an earnest collection of magic tricks.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    The problem is, there's just not enough Burton in Big Fish.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Robert Wilonsky

    For the first time, Burton seems comfortable walking around the real world.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    What a waste of a fine cast.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    It's nicely made, well shot, and reasonably well acted, yet it's enough to filet the life force right out of you. We need stories in order to dream, and to live. But that doesn't mean we have to buy every crappy one that comes down the pike. Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Has moments of genuine emotion...but overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    The most curious thing about this magical-realist how thin and soft it is, how unpersuasive and ultimately forgettable even its most strenuous inventions turn out to be.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The imaginatively illustrated but precariously precious film offers up a string of minor pleasures but never becomes more than moderately amusing or involving.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    The Alabama setting is as phony as the one in Forrest Gump, and for all of Finney's effectiveness as a yarn-spinning geezer, his whoppers seem disconnected from his character and each other--a weakness Burton fails to resolve with an awkward Felliniesque finale.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    A misfire. The film that wants to be lighter than air instead crashes to earth with the swiftness of a concrete parachute.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Tim Burton is all grown up and getting serious with this wildly scattershot tale.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    The whole seems disjointed, incoherent and lacking in the startling originality of the other two Edwards (Scissorhands and Wood) who, half a career back, poured from Burton's distended outsider imagination.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    An abundance of dull exposition building up to the son's attempt to cap his father's whoppers climaxes with a tedious flurry of Fellini-esque endings and Spielbergian fillips. The magic doesn't work twice -- or even once.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The most fluid, lyrical, and even-toned work of his (Burton's) career. It's also the most boring by a factor of 10.

    Slate Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    The film fairly groans from all the narrative gamesmanship and lavish romantic gestures...The unbewitched viewer may groan as well.

    Time Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    Big Fish stinks from the head.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    A disappointingly dull thud of a fantasy.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    A long-winded indulgence in tear-and-a-smile whimsy, elevated above the merely irritating and saccharine by compelling art direction.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    What is most disappointing about Big Fish is the nervousness of its fantasizing--a strange unwillingness, new in Burton's work, to trust the wit of the audience. [15 December 2003, p. 119]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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