Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Big Fish (2003)

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“A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.”

            I love a good story. I love reading literature where the story is so good and fascinating that I cannot put the book down. I love a movie that has such a great story I cannot stop thinking it about and want to watch it over and over again. My favorite kinds of stories are the ones where normal people do extraordinary things or have lived such a full life traveling or doing fun things. I long to have an interesting, full, entertaining life like the people I read about or watch in films or even of the real people I have read about in memoirs. I want to be able to say I did fun thing with my life. I long to travel the world and make new friends and create stories people will want to hear or be inspired by. Right now I am flat broke which means I cannot even go out to a local bar with friends or meet people and I live down the Jersey Shore where nothing fun ever happens and is far away from New York City(if you even think about Seaside and the beach… let me tell you it is completely overrated).
            I unfortunately do not have an imagination that lets me create stories to live vicariously through and let me escape. Well, maybe I do not need an imagination to live vicariously through and escape. Watching movies of various genres with all the talented directors and actors and actresses creating fantasy worlds and romance and adventure is my escape. For however long the movies run for, I am living in a world not my own and vicariously through the characters. One of the most perfect movies I ever sat through that let me escape to an imaginative world with colorful characters was Big Fish.
            Ed Bloom (Albert Finney) is dying of cancer. He and his son Will (Bill Cruddup) have not spoken in three years. Will does not like that Ed makes up these incredible stories about his life because he cannot find any truth in them leaving him to know nothing of who his father really is. The story that finally put Will over the edge was how his father caught a large fish in the river that no one else could ever catch the day he was born. He was so sick of Ed telling that story that he finally up and left.
            Will still struggles with his father’s exaggerated tales of adventure. His wife Josephine (Marion Cottillard) sits down with Ed one night and listens to his stories. Ed recalls how he met his wife at a circus he came across and all the things he did just to learn about her and find out where she lived and the story about how he won her over. Josephine and Will’s mother have no problems listening to Ed’s fantastic tales.
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            Since Will is a journalist he checks on one of his father’s stories dealing with a woman named Jenny (Helena Bonham Carter). In stories she was once a witch when he was a small boy and her one eye revealed how they were going to die and how she became a woman in the 1970s who was Jenny’s mother and he helped to make her house habitable again. He realizes with this Jenny that his father’s stories have truth in them and that he needs to see past the exaggerations.
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            As Ed lay dying in the hospital Will tells him a story about how they escaped the hospital and where they go to and how they got there. Will’s story is exactly like one of Ed’s.
            I know I did not go into explaining each of Ed’s wonderfully colorful stories but they would be too long to go into detail and me trying to coherently write them down would have been a nightmare for, not just me, but for all of you reading this. Also, the way Tim Burton created these scenes is so beautiful I would not want to spoil any of it for it in any way.
            I remember not really wanting to ever sit and watch Big Fish. The only reasons I sat through it were for my friend who is obsessed with Ewan McGregor and because of Marion Cotillard and Helena Bonham Carter. I adore both actresses and before looking up the cast I shamefully had no idea they were even in it. I also shamefully did not realize Tim Burton had been the director. I liked everything about Big Fish. I love the imaginative world Ed chose to live in and wanted to tell and how all of them had some truth. He did not make himself look like a completely good guy either. I liked how Will wanted to know the truth about his father and how he was frustrated by the tall tales. I think his frustration was down to the fact that he did love his father and wanted to know more about him besides the stories.
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            I absolutely loved sitting through Big Fish. It made the world feel less small and brighter. It made me feel like I could go out and accomplish anything no matter how big or small. It opened up my eyes and my mind to the endless amounts of stories that could be told to make you feel better and help you make sense of the world around you. Creating stories in the way that Ed did can also help you cope with the world around you. Big Fish is a movie I cannot wait to sit through again. I cannot wait to be brought back into a world I can perfectly vicariously live through and be happy.
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